Hussain: Hales deserves another chance


Former England captain Nasser Hussain feels the ECB should stick with Nottinghamshire batsman Alex Hales at the top of the Test team's order alongside Alastair Cook, despite an indifferent record.

Hales made his Test debut against South Africa on Boxing Day last year, and though he scored one half century he only averages 17. But Hussain feels it would be foolish to remove him after just three matches.

England have struggled to find Cook a new partner since Andrew Strauss retired in 2012, and Hussain says giving Hales another chance is the smart move if they're looking long-term.

He wrote in the Daily Mail: "I believe England are going to stick with Alex Hales as Alastair Cook’s opening partner and that’s a decision I agree with because he should be handed a run of games at home to go with the four Tests he played in South Africa.

"If Hales plays all three against Sri Lanka we should have an answer as to whether he can replicate his limited-overs success in the longer game. Axeing him now would leave us guessing."

Hussain also thinks Hampshire batsman James Vince should be brought into the side in place of Nick Compton, who returned to the team against the Proteas and did relatively well. But Hussain feels Vince is a better solution in the long run.

He added: "I believe England would be wrong to keep Nick Compton at No 3. Yes, he did OK in South Africa, averaging 30, but is he a long-term investment?

"I understood why England called time on Ian Bell but I couldn't see why they went to Compton, who is only 14 months younger.

"Compton could well do fine against Sri Lanka and Pakistan this summer but it worries me how he implodes if a series doesn't go his way, and he does some odd things, as we saw in South Africa.

"A better choice would be James Vince. There has been a lot of talk about his similarity in style to Michael Vaughan but the real comparison is in their county records.

"When I was England captain and I asked about the young Vaughan, people at Yorkshire told me he looked good but kept getting out for classy 20s and 30s.

"Vince has been like that at times for Hampshire. Vaughan took his game to a higher level when picked by England and I feel Vince would rise to the occasion, too, as he did when becoming man of the Twenty20 series against Pakistan."