Alex Hales smashed a 52-ball century, the first hundred of the International League T20 in the UAE, as he continues to press for more white-ball opportunities for England.
Hales, playing for Desert Vipers against Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, struck six sixes and seven fours in his innings of 110 from 59 balls on Friday, which followed fifties in his first two games of the competition.
The 34-year-old struck three half-centuries for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League in Australia before departing that tournament for the International League T20.
Hales was recalled to England’s T20 World Cup squad late last year following Jonny Bairstow’s broken leg and went on to score over 200 runs at an average of 42 as his country won the title.
The right-hander hit two fifties in the tournament, with a best of 86 not out from 47 balls as England demolished India by 10 wickets in a one-sided semi-final at Adelaide Oval.
Hales is not in England’s 50-over squad for the upcoming series in South Africa but England white-ball head coach Matthew Mott said shortly after his team’s T20 World Cup triumph that the Nottinghamshire man could be hard to keep out ahead of the 50-over World Cup in India this autumn.
Mott said: “To me, white-ball cricket is white-ball cricket. He’s shown he’s not a slogger of the ball. He’s a proper cricketer and there’s absolutely no reason why he couldn’t get in that 50-over team.
“We’ve got some tough selections coming up, and we don’t play a lot of one-day cricket, but I’m sure if he keeps in this rich vein of form he’ll be hard to keep out.”
England will face South Africa live on Sky Sports, with the first two ODIs taking place at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on January 27 and 29 and the final match of the series at The Oval in Kimberley on February 1.
England ODI squad in South Africa
Jos Buttler (captain and wicketkeeper), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Dawid Malan. Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Olly Stone, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes
England’s ODIs in South Africa – all live on Sky Sports
- 1st ODI (Bloemfontein) – Friday January 27 (11am); 10.30am on air
- 2nd ODI (Bloemfontein) – Sunday January 29 (8am); 7.30am on air
- 3rd ODI (Kimberley) – Wednesday February 1 (11am); 10.30am on air
Jos Buttler’s side play just 13 one-day internationals before their 50-over World Cup title defence in October and November, with three in Bangladesh in March and then four against New Zealand and three versus Ireland in September.
Hales was dropped ahead of the 2019 50-over World Cup in England after reportedly failing a recreational drugs test, with his place in the squad taken by James Vince.
Hales’s ODI record for England is 2,419 runs in 67 innings at an average of just under 38 with six centuries, 14 fifties and a top-score of 171.
If he continues in his current vein, he may get a chance to add to those international 50-over stats.
Watch England’s three-match one-day international series in South Africa live on Sky Sports Cricket. Coverage of the first game, at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein, begins at 10.30am on Friday ahead of the first ball at 11am.
The 50-over World Cup in India is live on Sky Sports Cricket in October and November.