England skipper Jos Buttler heaps praise on Alex Hales
Jos Buttler and Alex Hales (PC: Twitter)
England skipper Jos Buttler opened up on the unavailability of their star players like Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone and Jonny Bairstow from the historic tour of Pakistan and said that it would furnish good opportunities for other players in the squad.
England Cricket Team, on Thursday (September 15) landed in Pakistan after a 17-year hiatus, as part of the first leg of the tour. They are slated to play seven T20Is from September 20 to October 2 against the hosts.
Just an hour after they landed in Pakistan, English skipper Jos Buttler interacted with the local media, where he opened up on various aspects, including Alex Hales' return to the national side after three years.
Speaking at the press conference, Buttler said:
"Livingstone, Bairstow, and Ben Stokes are big players. Of course, they're not here at the minute. Gives opportunities to other players. Which is exciting. We have a lot of depth in our squad. So, when guys are desperate for that opportunity, it breeds competition within the squad and guys want to step up and take that chance."
The England skipper further opened up on the stern challenge they are going to face against Babar Azam & Co, starting September 20 at Karachi, just ahead of the much-anticipated T20I World Cup 2022 in Australia.
"That's exciting. But as you mentioned, Pakistan is a very exciting team. They will give us a really tough challenge and we look forward to that and to being battle-hardened going into the World Cup after a tough seven-match series."
Hales is a destructive top-order batter: Jos Buttler
Buttler also opined on Hales' return to the team after three years and hailed him as a destructive top-order player. Notably, the 33-year-old has been recalled to the national side for the first time since 2019.
"And yeah, Alex Hales is back in our squad. We know how fantastic a player he is and an incredibly destructive player at the top of the order. I'm sure Pakistani fans have seen him in the PSL and perform brilliantly well. I'm sure he is looking forward to playing out here as well."
The right-handed batter hasn’t played for England since being sidelined from the ODI World Cup squad in March 2019 owing to an off-field incident and it will be interesting to see if he gets an opportunity in the playing XI in the absence of three-star English players.