Cricket

Ales Hales ready to return to England action in ODI series against Pakistan

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Alex Hales is ready to return to England colours, in a one-day international series he warns will be far from easy against Pakistan.

Hales has been restricted for the past month on his maiden Test tour to one warm-up innings and much net practice, as the reserve opener who was never required in the 2-0 series defeat in the United Arab Emirates.

But his time is about to come, initially in Sunday's pre-series match against Hong Kong in Abu Dhabi, and then in the four ODIs and three Twenty20s to follow.

The 26-year-old was hardly in the best of form when he last played for England, and has made just 71 runs in his last eight innings spread over the formats for club and country - dating back to August.

Nonetheless, he is a man in possession at the top of the limited-overs order - and is also being talked about as Alastair Cook's next Test opening partner, following Moeen Ali's poor form in that position against Pakistan, when England travel to South Africa for Christmas and the new year.

He is not yet looking that far ahead, of course, but is raring to go against Pakistan - and, first of all, Hong Kong.

"I think it's going to be a very good series, and a very tough series, against opposition who are world-class in their own conditions," he said.

"It's going to be a tough challenge, and one we're all looking forward to."

For now, South Africa can therefore wait.

Hales added: "This is a different format, against very different opposition, to what we'll face in the Test series in South Africa.

"So I'm not going to look too far ahead to that series.

"Any time you play international cricket is a chance to show how skilful you are and cement your place in the side, and that's something I'm looking to do in this series."

Hales will be set to face Yasir Shah for the first time, having watched the Pakistan leg-spinner tie England in knots more than once during the Test series.

He said: "It's probably going to be similar conditions to what we faced in the Test series, and so their slow bowling will be the main threat.

"But it's also important we don't get too worked up about that - they've still got quality seam attack, and we've got to be on top of both areas."

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