Is it the right call to bring Alex Hales back for Ashes tour?

The name of Alex Hales has been mentioned and strongly linked to a place in the upcoming Ashes squad announcement, and his innings on Saturday in the T20 against West Indies, was a timely reminder for the selectors of just what he is capable off.

Hales was by far the most impressive of the England batsmen, top scoring with 43 runs in England’s 21 run defeat, and not only was he England’s best batsman, he was the only English batsman who was able to handle the conditions.

Yes, this was only a T20 fixture, not an Ashes Test match, I get that, but the point is just how comfortable Hales now looks at international level, so why can’t he take that into red ball cricket?

When Hales was last in the England Test team, he was still finding his way in international cricket, and he wasn’t too assured in any format.

Now he has the presence of a man who knows he belongs at international level, and his white ball form has shown that over the last 12 to 18 months, where alongside Joe Root, he has been England’s best batsman.

I believe the time is right for a Test recall for Hales, and I hope he is included in the upcoming squad. Lets be honest about things, he can’t really do any worse than a lot of the players who have been playing at 2, 4, and 5, for England recently, so he certainly won’t be weakening the squad, and if he does come off, he can be destructive and a possible match winner.

I would like to see the Nottinghamshire man in the middle order batting at No.5, with one of Root and Malan at numbers 3 and 4 respectively (or the other way round if Joe insists on batting 4 still).

In Ashes Betting Australia are still odds on favourites at 4/7. A drawn series is 6/1, with England at 5/2, all odds with bet365 (Welcome Bonus up to £200 here) and correct at the time of writing.

Last Chance For England

It’s now or never for England, as later on today they take on the Aussies in the penultimate match of their disastrous tour of Australia. Only two wins from the final two T20 matches can salvage any crumbs for England, and even that would still seem a bit hollow, after what’s already gone on.

Stuart Broad indicated after the first T20 that he felt Australia got a few too many runs, so a change in the bowling unit could be on the cards for Melbourne.

Obviously the MCG is a far bigger ground that the one at Hobart (where Australia won the 1st T20 by 13 runs), so with this in mind, England would be expecting to concede less runs should they be in the field first.

Although England slumped to 51/4 at Hobart, it was still a good effort to get up to 200 in the end. But I do find myself wondering whether that was down to the fact that the game looked up for England, so the incoming batsman could just play their shots without fear?

We’ve seen all too often in the past that England can crumble under pressure, so is it any real surprise that all of a sudden the same players can look half decent in a lost cause?

In the betting for the 2nd ODI from the MCG, the bookies unsurprisingly make Australia favourites yet again, but only just in fairness.

The Aussies can be backed at a best price of 5/6 with Boylesports to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, and leave England with 3 out 3 series’ defeats. England are 6/5 to level the series with Youwin. They are 11/10 with pretty much every other layer.

As has been the case in much of the limited overs’ matches, Aaron Finch proved to be the major thorn in England’s side. Finch is 8/1 favourite with Skybet to be the Man of the Match at the MCG (Cameron White pipped him in Hobart).

Moving onto the outright series winner, and again the punters and bookies don’t seem to fancy England to get much out of this series. Australia are 1/3 with Boylesports to win the best of 3 match series, while England are 10/3 with William Hill.