Hales happy with his match-winning knock on return

By our correspondent

KARACHI: It was, indeed, a prosperous day for England’s experienced campaigner Alex Hales on Tuesday when England downed Pakistan by six wickets thanks to his remarkable fifty, the score he managed on his return to T20 cricket after a huge gap of three years.

And Alex, in fact, was very happy over his successful return.

“Very special feelings to be back on the park for England,” Alex told a post-match news conference. “Three years felt like forever, but to get out there today and score a fifty on my return in a winning team is stuff dreams are made of,” Alex said.

Banking on Alex’s 53 off 40 deliveries while chasing a target of 159, the tourists cruised over the line for their first T20I win on Pakistan’s soil.

Asked whether his long exile from international cricket was the reason behind how he crafted his knock Alex said that it was vital to focus on ‘task at hands’.

“I think to focus on task at hands is important and that for him it was the winning game. It’s a very skillful bowling attack. You have got guys bowling at you at 150 so for me it was just getting over the line today”. “I was not quite at my fluent best but to get fifty and steers us in the right direction meant a lot. There are lots of times in T20 where you don’t quite feel on top of your game and you are a little bit scratchy,” said the batsman who also has load of PSL experience and knows exactly how the pitches behave in Pakistan.

“But the deeper you take it, the more fluent the innings becomes. I got a couple of boundaries away towards the back-end and killed the game with Harry. Harry’s innings was outstanding against them. It was quality bowling attack on the tricky pitch,” Alex said.

“I was trying to hit boundaries. It just did not quite happen tonight for some reason. I did not have quite as much strike as I would have liked. I did not quite manage to get going in the powerplay, but that can happen. I still managed to dig deep and steer us in the right direction for the win,” said Alex.

Alex admitted that the knock was characterized by battling nerves because of his long return to international cricket but labeled it a ‘special knock’.

“The missed three years, that was not down to my cricket, that was never in doubt but having not played for three years, it felt like my debut again. It was a special knock,” Alex said.

“Guys have said in the past that it was never down to cricket why I missed the three years. That was never in doubt. But there were always nerves and pressure coming back after three years. It felt like a debut again, it feels like a dream come true to come back and contribute with a half-century in a winning team,” he said.

Being a regular feature of the PSL Alex mentioned how important Pakistan is for him.

“It’s a place that means a lot to me and I have some very fantastic memories here, on and off the field, and to be a part of the first England tour in such a long time is an incredibly special feeling,” Alex added.

“It’s something special. The crowd here applauding from the full house in Karachi is something different. It’s one of the best atmospheres in the world’s cricket. The guy Luke Wood saying, while standing at mid-wicket, he could not believe in the noise in the atmosphere and for him on his debut to experience this was very special,” Alex recalled.

Alex said that there is healthy competition among the group and strong England side would enter the World Cup which will begin in Australia next month.

“There is lot of depth in English cricket,” Alex said. “There are guys stepping up and putting pressure on guys who are in the team. We are quite confident heading into the World Cup. Guys look like they are in a good space and playing good cricket and there is good, healthy competition amongst the group which should help us get better,” Alex said.

Alex said that PSL experience was helpful for him.

“The PSL experience is very helpful for me and for the other guys. In my opinion this is the second-best league, especially the batters coming here facing ten or 12 bowlers who can bowl with 150. Yes, to come here you have to be in your best game. It was a good experience of playing on these pitches and hopefully we can pass on to the youngsters in the side,” said Alex.

“It has been unbelievable last three years I really enjoyed my cricket. In the last three years I focused on T20 cricket which helped to take my game to the next level. Tonight is special feeling and hope I can do it for England going forward now.”

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