Alex Hales certainly got an early season break – just not the one he was looking for.

The right-handed batsman started the campaign bidding to put himself in contention for a place on an England Lions tour this winter.

But those plans sustained a blow when he fractured his jaw attempting to hook an Ajmal Shahzad bouncer.

That County Championship game against Yorkshire in early May was Hales' last competitive cricket.

It halted a rich vein of form that saw him score four half centuries in four matches, accumulating 335 runs at 55.83.

Hales had also smashed a superb CB40 century in opening the innings at Essex.

Since then, the 22-year-old has been desperate to get back into action.

And the moment he has been waiting for arrives tonight when Notts Outlaws kick-off their 2011 t20 campaign against the Derbyshire Falcons at Trent Bridge.

"I had an operation four weeks ago and they have put two metal plates in to hold the fracture together," said Hales. "The plates stay in for good but they said I could play again a month from the operation, so I'm ready to go.

"Getting injured at any time is disappointing but it was especially so given the form I was in – I just wanted to keep batting. It was a tough time, but now I am looking forward to getting back."

Hales is optimistic the manner of his injury will not inhibit him when he gets back out in the middle.

He said: "It does go through your head that you could get hit again, but I have worked hard on the bowling machines to conquer that.

"I think people will look to target me with the short ball because of me getting hit, but that's not going to be such a problem in t20.

"You are only allowed one short ball an over in this. It is in the four-day cricket where I am going to be tested.

"You can't really say if I will be in the same form after missing out for the last few weeks, but my record last year in t20 (466 runs in 18 matches at 29.12) gives me added confidence.

"I think t20 is my favourite – I really enjoy the buzz around Trent Bridge and there is a bit of a no fear aspect to it when you are batting.

"I had a good year last year in it and hopefully I can repeat that. Hopefully I can do even better."

Hales is excited by the potentially explosive Outlaws batting pool.

"Our middle order is looking very strong when you look at Samit Patel, Adam Voges, David Hussey and Chris Read," he said. "I think that will be one of the best in the competition and they will certainly not be afraid of chasing down any total.

"There is a lot of international experience, which can count for a lot."

On the down side, Notts have lost both Ryan Sidebottom and Dirk Nannes, who figured respectively for England and Australia in last spring's World Twenty20.

But Hales said: "Patto (Darren Pattinson) was a real good find for us in last season's competition and he will be our main strike bowler.

"But all the bowlers will play their part. Luke Fletcher and Jake Ball have come into limited overs games and performed really well, so they will be keen to impress.

"Andre Adams is a clever one-day bowler and he can be explosive with the bat and Paul Franks got a five-for in the last CB 40 game."

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