Nottinghamshire opening batsman Alex Hales has been rewarded for his good start to the season with a new two-year contract.

The exciting 20-year-old prospect has forced his way into the first team after spending the winter playing club cricket in Australia, and began the summer with 52 and 106 in the Friends Provident Trophy to earn selection for the last two LV County Championship matches.

Director of Cricket Mick Newell hailed the progress the former MCC Young Cricketer has made since his arrival in 2008 and said: “Alex made solid progress last summer and has come back a better player after a winter in Melbourne.

“His technique has improved, his shot selection is getting better and he’s made himself into a first team player, so all credit to him.

“He’s a good lad who wants to make his way in the game and has the right attitude to continue to improve. He’s thoroughly deserved the new contract.”

An aggressive 6ft 5in right-hander, Hales moved to Nottingham after impressing on trial with the Second XI in 2007 with a string of high scores.

While he made his one-day and Championship debut last summer, he was not called upon to bat until the start of this campaign after a strong pre-season.

He responded with two entertaining knocks against Leicestershire and Ireland in the Friends Provident Trophy and said: “I’m really pleased to have been given a new contract and now I want to go on and secure my place in the side.

“I’ve been a bit inconsistent so far - either making big scores or getting out cheaply - and that’s something I want to improve.

“I’ve had a taste of first-class cricket and feel I’m now ready for that challenge on a regular basis. It’s helped me to be playing alongside such a fantastic group of team-mates.

“When I first joined Notts I was nervous about meeting people like Mark Ealham, Chris Read and Ryan Sidebottom but everyone was very welcoming and helped me settle in quickly.”