Nottingham: Having being part of the Nottinghamshire County team for about six years since 2008, England's latest recruit Alex Hales has said that he is looking forward to taking on India in the third ODI here on Friday.
It will be a special occasion for the youngster, who will be playing his first ODI at his home ground, Trent Bridge. "I'm really looking forward to it. All the international games here at Trent Bridge are very special occasions, a very good atmosphere and I'm really looking forward to getting out there in front of a home crowd. Hopefully as a team we can bounce back against India as well," said Hales, who made his ODI debut in the 133-run loss at Cardiff.
"It was a little frustrating waiting for that chance in 50-over cricket. I've always felt at home in Twenty20 cricket, the pressure that comes with playing in front of the big screen and playing for your country. So I have always felt ready to make the step up to ODIs. But the selectors have said that I have to show more consistency across all three formats. That's something I've had to go away and work on, and I hope I've shown that," he added.
Hales was the top-scorer for England at Cardiff, getting 40 runs off 63 balls, and gave a good start to his team in a tall chase. He put up 54 runs with skipper Alastair Cook for the first wicket. In its run-up to the 2015 World Cup, his arrival could be an interesting marker for the English team.
"It was the first time I batted with Cook," said Hales. "He doesn't talk a lot, only says the basic stuff you always talk about in the middle. I really enjoyed the start we had, and hope there are more of those partnerships to come. Obviously, it's only been one game but to get off to a 50-run start is pretty good.
"We're still learning about each other's games, talking with each other in the nets about where our single options are, what our boundary options are and I hope we can forge a good partnership heading into the World Cup," he added.
Hales' innings, laced with 5 fours, was probably the only bright spark for England in the second ODI, a game which was otherwise dominated by India. "The Indian bowlers were just very cunning in Cardiff," said Hales.
"Once I got past 30 runs, they were one step ahead of me. So it's up to me to put that right, and have that game smartness heading into tomorrow. It was pretty tough scoring against them. There was that little bit of seam movement for them."
But the conditions in Nottingham will probably be very different. The forecast for Saturday is cloudy without any rain. More importantly the pitch is expected to be flat, after all this was the same wicket that gave a very drab result in the first Test of the tour.
"I am expecting a very good wicket. Usually the one-day wickets we play on here at Nottingham are outstanding batting tracks and I'm expecting a high-scoring game. On a very good, flat Trent Bridge wicket it should be a lot easier to score on. India set smart fields in Cardiff and had a gully in place a lot of the time to stop that easy one-run down to third man. But we feel a lot more prepared now, heading into Saturday, and that pitch will be a lot easier to score on and take the game back to their bowlers," said the opening batsman.
"We're not hiding behind the fact it was a poor team performance all round but we spoke about it, wiped the slate clean and we've talked about our tactics and we're feeling fresh and confident heading into this game," he added.
Hales was part of the IPL auctions this year but he didn't receive a bid because apparently he had set his base price too high. The explosive batsman ? the only one to score a T20-International hundred for England earlier this year in the World Cup in Bangladesh ? still hopes to play T20 cricket in the sub-continent.
"I'm not sure what the price arrangement is, but I do definitely still hope to enter the auction next year. I think the plan at the moment is to make that base price lower. But I haven't had any initial discussions as yet," he signed off.