The very first pick at the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) draft was opening batsman Alex Hales who will be playing for the Barbados Tridents. Hales says he is really looking forward to turning out at the CPL for the first time.
“When I was picked it was incredible news. Barbados is probably one of the best places in the world for cricket, incredible ground, good atmosphere in the Caribbean. It’s also a tournament I have never played in before and from what I’ve heard from players and coaches, the standard is really high and the atmosphere is brilliant so, it’s a great opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to it.”
When asked if playing in T20 tournaments around the world helps in terms of getting international recognition, Hales said the extremely high standard means that selectors have to take notice of performances in leagues like the CPL.
“I think the standard now for franchise cricket is just going through the roof, particularly with all the analysis and all the money that’s involved in it. You play with all sorts of different players from all sorts of countries and a few months later you find yourself playing against them so, these guys know your strengths, they know your weaknesses. So, the standard and the drive to improve and work on your weaknesses and keep on top of your strengths is massive. I think it’s definitely something that national selectors look at or certainly should be looking at because the standard is fantastic.”
Hales also says that playing in T20 leagues around the world helps with your game especially to get you used to high pressure situations and, being an overseas player adding to the experience.
“I think it does and also the pressure of being an overseas player as well there’s always that expectation on you to perform as it should be. You go and play in Bangladesh and a month later you might find yourself in Australia playing on completely different pitches where your game plan is going to have to adjust quite a bit. So, in terms of developing as a player and honing your skills around the world these domestic tournaments are probably as good as it gets.”
The next big international assignment for the England team will be the T20 World Cup in Australia in late 2020, and Hales has set this as a target.
“Yeah, I mean obviously that’s still a target of mine. Whether or not it happens or not it remains to be seen. But for me at the moment, whether it’s with England or not, I’ve got a really busy 12 to 18 months coming up. I think it’s pretty much non-stop, no time off whatsoever, so I’m really looking forward to it. At the moment my focus is just to perform as well as I can in these leagues and for Notts. I’m really excited about the Notts campaign, we’ve got such a good squad with our T20 side, so I’m just going to enjoy my cricket, try and perform and hopefully at the end of the road there’s the World T20.”
Hales says he is particularly looking forward to returning to the Caribbean, a place he says he loves to visit.
“I think it’s the passion of the locals is phenomenal, you don’t quite realise it until you go over there how much the locals and everyone in the Caribbean loves their cricket. It’s such a huge sport for them and their culture and having a chance to play there, you know be part of that atmosphere especially when it comes to Barbados. I’ve had good memories, I’ve scored an international hundred there for England a few years ago, so playing at that grounds it’s just such good memories. So, it’s a tournament I’m really looking forward to being a part of.”
“[Kensington Oval] is just full of history isn’t it, it’s packed with history with international cricket and now they’ve obviously got the CPL there so a chance to play 5 games there, I’m really looking forward to playing for a different team other than England in that atmosphere. So it’s a new challenge and one I’m really looking forward to.”
It has been a tricky few years for the Tridents, having missed the playoffs for the last two seasons. Hales feels very positive about the squad the Tridents have put together for this year.
“I think we’ve got a strong team. All overseas guys led well by Jason Holder, we’ve got a nice mix of some pacers, we have Wahab Riaz and a couple good spinners in Sandeep Lamichhane and Imad Wasim. I think our squad is very well balanced and I think we’ve got a good chance if guys perform at the right time, I think we’ve got a good chance of challenging hopefully for the trophy.
Alex Hales will be playing for the Barbados Tridents at the Hero Caribbean Premier League. The tournament takes place from 4 September to 12 October.