England limited-overs' star Alex Hales has showered praise on Indian skipper Virat Kohli and called him the 'out of this world'. Kohli, India's batting backbone has scored 544 runs with an average of 68 in this Test series. He is the highest scorer of this series. Jos Buttler, the second highest run-getter in this series has half of Virat's run, only 260 runs.
“Virat Kohli is from a different planet while Root will go on to break records for English cricket,” he said in an exclusive chat during a visit to the Gulf News on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old England batsman was featured in the T20I series against India. Recalling his unbeaten 58 runs in the second T20I, Hales said, “It was very special because we were 1-0 down in the series and it was a must-win game. I batted at No. 4, which is something I have never done before in T20 cricket. So it was a bit of a new role but to get the team over the line and make it 1-1 was really special.”
The explosive batsman also talked about his famous innings in the T20 World Cup in 2014. He is the only England batsman to score a T20 International century. “It was definitely one of the top three highlights of my career. Particularly since Sri Lanka went on to win the tournament. I played that knock (116n.o.) when we needed to win that game to stay in contention. We chased down a target of 190, after being two down for none, in the first over and to put up such a performance on that day, I will never forget.”
Hales couldn't get enough of Kohli's brilliance. The Delhi born has been in a fine form in all three formats against England on this tour. “Kohli is almost from a different planet at the moment. He is playing a different game even in Test matches in England and on difficult batting pitches, he made it look very easy. I would say he is head and shoulders above all and he does something special in all the matches.”
Root might not have been in a good touch in this Test series, but he was the top scorer in ODI series. Lauding the English captain, Hales said: “He is an incredibly special guy. Ever since he was 19, we all knew he is going to be one of England’s greats. He is only 27 now and has nearly 10 years left in him and may probably set some records for English cricket.”
Hales has a unique record of scoring 55 runs in an over. Yes, you read it right. Back in 2015, when he was 16-year-old, the right-handed batsman achieved this record in a Cricket Idol T20 tournament at Lords. The over included three no-balls, eight sixes and one four.
“It was a tournament meant to showcase your talent. I was there as a fast bowler at that time but that knock was the catalyst to move towards batting. So I will say that was a big turning point.”
Featured in England's 56 T20Is, Hales said he grew up watching his father playing and learned hard hitting from him. His father Gary Hales has once scored an unbeaten 321 for Gerrards Cross against Chalfont St Peter in a limited overs league match. “I grew up watching my father play aggressive knocks and he did have a great influence in my career.”
Hales is set to play T10 tournament which will commence from November 23 to December 2 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. He said playing in UAE is a great feeling as his maiden ODI century came here.
“I have very fond memories here as I scored my maiden century against Pakistan here. Every time I have come here, I have been looked after well. I like the passion the people here have for cricket. UAE as a team is also coming up and is set to make an impact in the next few years.”
Hales feels that England can win the 2019 World Cup. “We are on the right path since 2015 and we have played some really good cricket and at the moment we are ranked No. 1 and we probably have a good chance in 50-over cricket. However, we cannot write off teams like India and Pakistan, with the latter winning the Champions Trophy last year. Frankly, you cannot write off any team in the world that will be out to get us."