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Hales finds focus to 'cherish' England stint

Embroiled in off-field trouble, Alex Hales says he has learned his lesson as he pushes to cement his spot in England's ODI XI

Alex Hales says he will "cherish" playing for England moving forward after breaking his silence on the fallout from the Bristol fracas that has seen teammate Ben Stokes charged with affray.

Hales was interviewed by police under caution following the alleged Bristol street fight, but was not charged.

That saw the ECB lift their suspension on the 28-year-old batsman, paving the way for him to return to England's white-ball XI for the Gillette ODI Series which England lead 2-0 ahead of the third ODI in Sydney today.

Stokes was last week charged with affray by the Avon & Somerset Police, on advice from the Crown Prosecution Service, and signalled his intention to clear his name in a statement on Twitter.

In a tumultuous sequence of events, Stokes was cleared by England to return to the team for T20 matches in New Zealand, before it was revealed that would conflict with his court date in Bristol.

For Hales, who will still face an internal disciplinary hearing along with Stokes once the legal proceedings are finalised, it has been a harsh lesson in responsibility.

"In terms of going out in the middle of a series, that is the lesson I have learned from that incident. When you are on England duty, you have eyes all over you and that brings responsibility on and off the field," he said this week.

"That is something I have learned over the last few months and responsibility on and off the field is something that will be coming into my game going forward.

"It has been a long few months but it is great to be back out here, hopefully put that stuff in the past and now I’m looking forward to hopefully contributing to a series win.

"Being out here makes you realise you should cherish playing for England."

Hales gives England a strong start with fifty

Hales was suspended for the final two ODIs against the West Indies after the Bristol incident, and has lost his spot as opener for England, taking a new role as the team's No.3.

He fell for just four, caught off the bowling of Pat Cummins, in the series opener in Melbourne, but responded with 57 to help England to a comfortable win in Brisbane.

Hales has not fared well against Cummins, who is set to play as Australia opt for a full-strength bowling line-up in a match they must win to keep the series alive. Hales has faced just eight balls from Cummins in ODIs and been dismissed by three of them, for just one run.

And with Jason Roy grabbing his opportunity as opener, including hitting an England record 180 at the MCG, Hales could find himself as the man under pressure when Stokes does eventually return to the side.

Rampant Roy smashes records in MCG epic

"It is up to me now to score as many runs as I can to try and keep putting pressure on the guys opening. That is all I can do. Hopefully, it is something I can enjoy and thrive on," Hales said.

"It hurt massively at the time to miss two games for something that happened off the field.

"It is disappointing and it will make me enjoy my time in an England shirt a hell of a lot more and cherish every moment on the field.

"Playing for England is a massive honour, especially with a World Cup coming up at home next year.

"There is an opportunity for us because we are in as good a place as we ever have been as a squad in white-ball cricket. I really want to be a part of that."

2017-18 International Fixtures

Gillette ODI Series v England

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Cameron White, Adam Zampa.

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

First ODI England won by five wickets at the MCG

Second ODI England won by four wickets at the Gabba

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21

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