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Hales strikes timely double

As England selectors ponder the Test squad to meet West Indies, Alex Hales has hit a rich vein of form

Batsman Alex Hales has sent a timely reminder to England selectors, scoring a run-a-ball double century for Nottinghamshire in the County Championship.

Batting at No.5, Hales struck 38 fours and a six on his way to 218 to put his team in full control on day two of their Division Two clash with Derbyshire.

He scored a 204-run sixth-wicket stand with captain Chris Read (75), helping Nottinghamshire to 9-508 declared in reply on Derbyshire’s 220.

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England’s selectors are due to meet on Friday to decide on the squad to meet West Indies.

Only Alastair Cook and captain Joe Root are currently cemented in England’s top five, with opener Keaten Jennings tipped to be replaced when the team to meet West Indies in a three-Test series beginning next week is revealed.

Jennings averaged 15.85 in England’s 3-1 series win over South Africa, while newcomers No.3 Tom Westley (122 at 30.5) and No.5 Dawid Malan (35 at 8.75), who both made their debuts during the third Test at The Oval, have also yet to cement their places in the England XI.

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While Hales’ knock for Nottinghamshire came at No.5, he has opened in each of his 11 Test appearances to date for England, the most recent of which came against Pakistan last August.

He scored 573 runs at 27.28 during his seven-month stint in the Test XI, including five half-centuries.

Hales’ double century comes after he smashed 95 off just 30 balls in England’s domestic T20 competition on Saturday, while he scored an unbeaten century in the same competition on July 30.

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He also posted an unbeaten 187 as Nottinghamshire claimed the One-Day Cup final at Lord's last month.

Remarkably, Hales has now scored 472 runs from 328 balls in five innings, across two formats, in the past nine days.

“It’s a great place to be when you are in a purple patch,” Hales told trentbridge.co.uk.

“I’m enjoying my cricket, in all three forms, at the moment, and I’m going to keep riding the wave and, hopefully, keep going until the end of the season.

“It has been two or three months where I have felt in really good touch and in good order across my whole game, so it’s up to me now not to be complacent and keep working hard.”

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However, Hales was adamant he was focused on helping Nottinghamshire succeed, not on a possible return to Test cricket.

“I’ve not really thought about it, to be honest. In the last few months I’ve just been enjoying my cricket.

“There’s been a lot of white-ball cricket. I enjoyed the clump of T20 cricket and now I’ve enjoyed this four-dayer in between.

“It’s been good to switch back to this format. I’ve not let it cross my mind and I’m going to try and not let it cross my mind. All I can do is keep on scoring runs for Nottinghamshire.”

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