Nottinghamshire batsman Alex Hales is hoping his performances in the final weeks of the season will earn him another crack at international cricket.
The opener impressed for the England Lions in their four-day game against Sri Lanka A, scoring 50 and 42, only to then struggle in the one-day internationals.
But he has since bounced back to score a match-winning century for Notts in a victory over Durham at Trent Bridge. With 767 runs to his name already, he now has four County Championship innings in which to chalk up 1,000 runs for the season. And he is hopeful his contributions will not go unnoticed by national selector Geoff Miller.
He said: “The Lions was a real mixed bag for me. I really enjoyed the set-up and I have some great mates who are part of it so I settled in very easily.
“But I’m bitterly disappointed with how I played in the one-dayers. I could have gone on to get some more runs in the four-day game well, as I got in and then got out on a decent pitch.
“It was great to get a fifty on my debut and it’s a shame I didn’t go on and get a big one as I feel I could have scored more. All I can do now is have a strong end to the season and hopefully I’ll be named on a tour this winter.”
Hales, 22, has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks, having begun last season in Nottinghamshire’s Second XI. After being called up to the first team he hit 677 runs in 12 Championship games, helping the county clinch the title in the final match of the season.
He attributes his success to playing grade cricket in Melbourne over the winter with fellow Outlaw Luke Fletcher. He said: “Luke and I went away and put in a lot of hard work. I also did a lot of training on my own and figured a lot of stuff out.
“We both helped each other and it served us well as we’ve both had decent seasons. I now back my own ability and am confident when I go out on the pitch.”
Notts have endured mixed fortunes this season, losing in the quarter-finals of the Friends Life t20 after winning their group comfortably while they have rarely threatened to retain their Championship crown.
But they can still finish third in the table and have an outside chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition.
Hales believes a positive run-in will serve them well for next season. He added: “It’s been very up and down for the team and for me personally.
“We were massively disappointed to lose to Somerset in the T20 as it was our best chance of silverware. But we’ve played some great cricket at other times. Over the last couple of seasons we haven’t really scored enough runs and that has been the case this year too.
“We’ve relied on our seam bowlers to dig us out of trouble on too many occasions. That’s disappointing as we have some real quality batters. But I think we’re in good shape for next season, particularly with the signing of Michael Lumb who I’m really looking forward to opening with in the T20.
“We’re relying on other teams in the CB40, which isn’t an ideal position to be in. All we can do is beat Lancashire and, with a full-strength side, I’m hoping we can do that.”