England star Hales honoured to don Durban Heat colours
DURBAN – Hard-hitting England star Alex Hales is ready to hit the ground running when the Durban Heat play its first game of the Mzansi Super League (MSL) against the Tshwane Spartans at Kingsmead on Saturday.
The Nottinghamshire and England opening batsman was in good form during the recent English summer helping Notts to the Vitality Blast semifinal and then winning the Caribbean Premier League with the Barbados Tridents.
“I have had a good couple weeks off after a really enjoyable four months so I am feeling refreshed and looking forward to what the next five weeks have to offer,” the 30 year-old said.
“Playing T20 cricket in South Africa is something that I have always wanted to do so when I was offered the role here it was no-brainer for me.
“I missed out on playing here a few years ago and then I signed in the (Abu Dhabi) T10 last year so this will be my first opportunity to play here and I am really looking forward to it.
“We have got a great bunch of guys and we have a fantastic coach in Gary (Kirsten) so it is going to be an exciting five weeks.”
Hales isn’t the only player in the side that has recently won a T20 competition. Captain Dane Vilas led the Jozi Stars to victory in the MSL last year and Ravi Bopara played a crucial role in helping the Essex Eagles win the Vitality Blast in the UK this season past.
The confidence and attitude that comes with winning trophies are attributes that Hales hopes can rub off on the rest of the squad as quickly as possible.
“I think we have got to use that winning mentality as much as possible going into this tournament,” he added.
“To have that experience of winning trophies is massive, particularly when you are only with a team for a short period of time.
“You have such a short amount of time to gel that hopefully we can lend that experienced mentality to the rest of the team and form a really strong squad.
“Inevitably there will be ups and downs and hopefully we can peak towards the back-end of the competition when it counts and when the trophy is there.”
Working with a coach like Kirsten seems to be an experience that most of the players are looking forward to, including Hales who has 141 caps for England across the three formats of the game.
“This will be the first time that I have worked with Gary but I have heard really good things from everyone that has played under him.
“He has a great reputation around the world and hopefully I can form a good bond with him,” Hales commented.
Hales will be part of a strong core of experienced players in the Durban Heat side and along with some talented young players he is excited to see what they have to offer come game one on Saturday.
“We have a lot of players who have played a huge amount of cricket around the world, especially in our batting order.
“The top five have probably played close to 700 T20 games, if not more. So with these guys and some good young local players I think it is a well-balanced squad.”
The Durban Heat start their Mzansi Super League campaign with a match against the Tshwane Spartans at Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium on Saturday. Nelson Mandela Bay Giants take on Stars at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth (2pm).
African News Agency (ANA)