When Alex Hales decided to opt for a limited-overs contract with Nottinghamshire in February 2018, he quickly became one of the most in-demand ‘white-ball warriors’ in world cricket, taking his explosive batting to short-form leagues and knockout tournaments in many different countries. The former ICC number one ranked T20 batsman has made regular appearances in Australia’s Big Bash tournament and other franchise events around the world, winning the 2019 Caribbean Premier League alongside fellow Outlaw Harry Gurney.
That white-ball decision was in part prompted by him losing his place in the England Test side; one of many partners tried by the ECB to fill the slot left by Andrew Strauss at the top of the order with Alastair Cook (Hales was the eighth opening part for Cook and there were more to follow), Alex could not restrain his bravura batting and adjust to the different rhythm and techniques of Test cricket. He did not do a great deal worse than many of the others tried in that position but after 11 Tests, with a top score of 94, made against Sri Lanka, at an average of 27.28 and five half-centuries in 21 innings, the England selectors decided to look elsewhere.
Hales had also seen his county career peak in 2017 when he broke the record for a one-day domestic final, scoring a brilliant 187 to lead The Outlaws to victory over Surrey in the Royal London Cup at Lord’s. Later that season he was also part of the team that secured the second limited-overs trophy on offer, winning the NatWest T20 Blast at Edgbaston.
He had begun his Notts career with a win too, in the LV= County Championship of 2009. He had, in fact, made his First-Class debut in September of 2008 but it was not the most memorable of starts. In a game reduced to less than 100 overs in the two days on which play was possible, Hales was, as the new boy in the team, the one to be substituted when Graeme Swann returned from England duty to claim his place in the county side. Although Hales is listed as having debuted in that game he does not appear on the scorecard as Somerset batted first and Swann was bowling before their first innings ended.
He made up for that stuttering start, making almost 500 runs from seven starts in that Championship side. He made his first First-Class hundred in 2010, and the following season fared rather better against Somerset, making an eye-catching 184 at Trent Bridge and he was awarded his county cap. Those runs helped him towards achieving 1,000 in the season for the first time and, after making his debut for the England Lions, he was further promoted by appearing in his first full Twenty20 International against India at Old Trafford.
The tall, hard-hitting right-handed batsman had shown glimpses of his potential with a glut of runs in the Nottinghamshire seconds, after arriving from the MCC Young Cricketers. During the 2011/12 winter he gained valuable experience on tours to India, Bangladesh and Abu Dhabi with England Lions and the England T20 squad. He was named in the England Twenty20 Squad for the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka after scoring 99 for England against West Indies at Trent Bridge.
Hales was the first England player to score a T20 century, hitting an unbeaten 116 against Sri Lanka in 2014 and the first to score a ton in both 20-over and 50-over internationals – which made up for the bitter disappointment of falling to a Ravi Rampaul straight ball when on 99 in an ODI in front of his home Trent Bridge crowd. His 171, made at Trent Bridge against Pakistan in 2016, was also England’s highest individual ODI score at the time.
For Nottinghamshire, Hales has scored well over 10,000 runs across the three formats and has produced some of the most dynamic hitting ever seen – taking six consecutive sixes, though across two overs, against the Birmingham Bears in 2016 and putting a straight six into the local radio commentary box en route to a hundred against Durham at Trent Bridge.
His chance of further international honours was curtailed by off the field ECB disciplinary matters; Hales was not among the 55 players that the ECB asked to resume early training in 2020 as the Corona Virus lockdown began to be eased. He did return to England colours when Eoin Morgan stood down as white-ball skipper and Alex was in the squad for the 2022/23 series against Australia and featured in the T20 World Cup winning side that immediately followed that series. He made a typically bruising 86 in the semi-final demolition of India when he and captain Jos Buttler knocked off the 170 runs required in just 16 overs.
In August 2023, Alex Hales announced his retirement from all international cricket, Hales, 34, made 156 appearances for England across three formats, scoring 5,066 runs, including eleven Tests with a top Test score of 94 made against Sri Lanka in 2016.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 601