Alex Hales’ ODI debut is currently the talk of the town, and the opening batsman shouldn’t have any problem with people discussing his place in the England team, especially if it can lead to Test match cricket.
The right-handed opener still remains the only Englishman to score a century in a T20 International, and his performances at the World T20 earlier this year have had a major role in providing him with the chance to now play 50-over cricket for his country.
But if he continues to shine in the ODI series with India, what is the next step in his career? Well, the logical rise would be for him to make his Test debut.
The aggressive batting style of Hales could be tailor-made for the longer version of the game. His ability to send the ball flying to all corners of a ground is a good way to kick start an innings, regardless of the format.
In the past, we have seen Marcus Trescothick perform the role of enforcer at the top of the order for England, putting them immediately onto the front foot with a high run rate right from the beginning of match.
At present, David Warner is performing just that job for Australia. The opener started off as a promising limited-overs star, but has now made the transition to Test cricket – something that Hales is also capable of.
Just like those two star left-handers, the Nottinghamshire batsman could also become one of the leading names in the five-day game.
Questions have been raised over Sam Robson’s ability to open the batting alongside Alastair Cook. Despite scoring a century on just his second appearance, the Middlesex opener failed to really cement his place in the side.
With doubts over whether or not he will remain at the top of the order the next time England play a Test – against the West Indies next April – Hales has time to develop a strong relationship with the national team skipper.
Providing he can hold down his place in the ODI side, there is a lot of cricket to be played before that tour of the Caribbean, and the 25-year-old can help his Test aspirations by scoring consistently in limited-overs cricket.
Partnering Cook at the top of the order will allow the captain to get a first-hand look at the ability of the opener, which could either help or hinder Hales, depending on his form.
While it didn’t work out in the end for Eoin Morgan, the Irish slogger has won 16 Test caps off the back of lighting up the international arena in 50-over cricket.
Jos Buttler is a more recent example of an England player making the ascension from ODI star to Test newcomer, and Alex Hales must surely be hoping that he can follow in his footsteps.
As long as talk continues to revolve around him, further speculation about Hales making the jump to Test cricket will be fueled.