Nottinghamshire Director of Cricket Mick Newell believes Alex Hales is close to being selected by England for the first time because of his fine form on the one-day stage for the Outlaws this summer.

Since making his t20 debut for Notts against Durham at Trent Bridge in May 2009, Hales, 22, has scored almost 1,000 runs in the competition, and has recorded eight half-centuries.

His highest t20 innings is 83, scored against Lancashire last July, and he was threatening to surpass it only six days ago, but fell on 76 against Derbyshire at the County Ground.

Hales, who also scored an unbeaten 150 in Pro40 in 2009, scored 39 in his latest t20 outing, as Notts clinched a home quarter-final tie in this summer's t20 with a ten-run win against Worcestershire at New Road.

Newell believes the England selectors have been closely watching the progress of Hales, who has swiftly returned to form after suffering a broken jaw earlier this season.

And he has pointed to the England Lions' matches against Sri Lanka A towards the end of the summer as a possible stage for his debut.

"Alex has done very well since he came back from his injury and I'm sure he's being monitored by England," said Newell.

"You know when people are getting somewhere near.

"There are selectors at more of our games and they've seen what Samit (Patel) can do so they have to be looking at somebody else, and for me it has to be Alex.

"Time will tell if he can make the step-up. England Lions play Sri Lanka A at the back-end of the summer and that is a stepping-stone for the international stage."

Hales will once again lead the batting for Notts in their t20 group match against Northamptonshire tonight as they look to make it 11 wins in the North Group stages.

Alongside Hales at the top of the order will be new signing Tamim Iqbal, who has made an immediate impact on his arrival at Trent Bridge, with scores of 47 against Yorkshire and 35 against Worcestershire in t20, after scoring only eight on his debut.

Iqbal, from Bangladesh, has replaced Australian David Hussey, and Newell is pleased with his performances – and predicts he will get better.

"He has done very well. In two out of three matches he has played he has made a major contribution. He's been excellent," added Newell.

"He has settled in very quickly and hopefully he will only get better in the three more games he will play for us, and help us win the group because that is our aim. We want to play the fourth-best team from the South group in the quarter-finals."

Notts will certainly have to improve on their performance against Worcestershire to win the t20 for the first time in their history this summer.

Even though they claimed yet another victory, to stay clear of Leicestershire at the top of the North Group table, Newell was unhappy with their batting performance, as they scored 152.

"It was a good win but it was not a good performance, and we can't make any excuses," he said.

"We batted pretty poorly from the 12th over onwards, our fielding was below standard but we did a lot of good things with the ball."

Samit Patel (1-21) and Luke Fletcher (1-24) produced notable performances to restrict Worcestershire to 142-5 in their run-chase.

"We thought 152 was competitive but we were 100-2 with eight overs left so we should have scored at least 170," said Newell.

"It's the first time we haven't fired with the bat and we have to make sure we don't make the same mistakes again."

Notts are already among the favourites to win the t20 at the end of the summer and they are undoubtedly driven by the unsatisfactory end to their campaign on finals day last year when they lost to Somerset in a rain-hit semi-final by three runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method.

"Winning competitions is very, very difficult. Getting to finals day is our aim now and we have a good chance because we have a home quarter-final," said Newell.

"We wouldn't have wanted to go away, so we're looking forward to facing whoever we play at Trent Bridge."

Notts' hopes in the County Championship have also been boosted because Australian Adam Voges will now continue as their overseas player until after their t20 quarter-final.

He will now play in their four-day matches against Somerset, Hampshire, Lancashire and Durham.

Matt Halfpenny is the Midlands Sports Journalist of the year and follows Nottinghamshire for the Nottingham Post.

Notts Outlaws fans can enjoy informal hospitality for £25 on the 15th of July, when Worcestershire Royals visit Trent Bridge in the final Friends Life t20 Group Fixture. Click here for more information.