England opener Alex Hales has been out of the international cricket scenario since March 2019, but his record in T20 competitions has now raised his value in the eyes of his admirers in the Indian T20 League.
Hales’ prior experience in the cash-rich T20 League was in 2018 with Team Hyderabad, where he amassed 148 runs in six matches at a strike rate of 125.42.
In the latest edition of the Big Bash League, the Englishman gave a quality impression of his swashbuckling skills with the bat as he smashed 543 runs in 15 games for Sydney Thunder, while finishing second in the Player of the Tournament voting.
The 14th season of the Indian T20 League is set to have its auction on February 18, and given the imperious form that he comes with, we list out the teams who should ideally splash the cash for Alex Hales.
Three-time champions Chennai has had a rich history with prolific foreign batsmen on their team rosters, such as Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum and Faf du Plessis. With Watson’s retirement at the end of the previous edition, South Africa’s du Plessis remains the only overseas batsman.
The Yellow Brigade finished seventh in the 2020 Indian T20 League, their worst performance in history, and were often criticized for their batting displays. Alex Hales’ addition will see him form an effective partnership with Faf du Plessis at the top, especially during the Powerplay overs.
With INR 22.9 crores in their purse, and one overseas slot available, it is to be seen if the MS Dhoni-led side can successfully bring the Englishman to Chennai.
Team Kolkata has failed to live up to their expectations over the last few seasons, and the apparent lack of a recognized overseas opener further implicates their ability to stitch formidable starts.
The franchise team experimented their opening order pairings, with Tom Banton, Sunil Narine and Rahul Tripathi forging a partnership with Shubman Gill but none lived to a strong promise.
The signature of England's limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan was expected to bring about a change in fortunes for the two-time champions. The 34-year-old, who was appointed captain mid-way through the 2020 campaign, aggregated 418 runs in 14 games but that wasn’t enough to help them salvage another error-riden season.
Should Alex Hales join Kolkata, the team will have a player who can provide a strong headstart and inject a sense of quality batting that has eluded the team since the departure of Gautam Gambhir.
Virat Kohli’s Bangalore have always had the best players on paper, such as Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock and the recently-released Aaron Finch; but their biggest drawback has been the inability to maintain any kind of momentum generated.
Over the years, the franchise has heavily relied on Kohli and de Villiers, but things changed last season when a young Devdutt Paddikal led from the front with 473 runs at a strike rate of 124.80.
With Finch and the retired Parthiv Patel not around, Bangalore lacks a confident hitter of the ball to support Paddikal at the top and with Alex Hales on board, the team can pose a fresh challenge for the Indian T20 League title.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Anthony Devlin