Alex Hales :
Alex Hales, the English batsman could very well have been the bargain that the Kolkata Knight Riders needed in the IPL auction 2022.
Bargain Pick Of The Auction?
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) went into the auction with a budget lower than 6 other franchises and looking for a player who could lead the side in forthcoming seasons. It cost them over a quarter of the entire remaining budget to bring in the ex-Delhi Capitals captain, Shreyas Iyer, for a whopping sum of INR 12.25 crores.
After loosening the purse strings for such a big buy, the team had to look out for bargains to fill up some of the key remaining slots. One such deal was that of Alex Hales, who was signed at the base price of INR 1.5 crores towards the later stages of the auction. Considering the amounts spent by franchises on players like Liam Livingstone, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and Tim David, this seems like a bargain pick going by Hales’s form and record.
An Overlooked Player
Hales is a player who has often been overlooked by IPL franchises as he remained unpicked in auctions since 2019. His only stint in the IPL has been as a replacement for David Warner in 2018, after the Australian was banned due to the ball tampering controversy.
Hales himself has had disciplinary issues off the field, being involved in a nightclub brawl in September 2018 and testing positive for the use of recreational drugs in April 2019. The latter incident cost him a place in England’s preliminary world cup squad. These incidents may have caused franchises to be wary of picking him. On field however, he has been a different person, scoring runs wherever he has played.
Prolific And Explosive Opener
Alex Hales has been one of the most prolific opening batsmen in T20 Leagues since 2018. He has the highest runs as an opener between 2018 to 2021. Hales has the highest strike rate in the powerplay, second highest strike rate overall, and 4th highest percentage of runs scored in boundaries amongst the 10 top scoring openers during this period, indicating his ability to dominate opposition attacks. He averages 33.64 and gets a 30-plus score every 2.18 innings which shows he is a consistent performer and not just an aggressive, hit or miss player.
Consistent In All Conditions
Hales has been consistent across leagues in different countries as well. He averages 30-plus in T20 Blast, BBL, PSL and BPL which shows he has the ability to play in bouncy, fast tracks as well as slow, spinner friendly sub-continent conditions. He has an average of close to 25 from only a handful of IPL games (6 innings) that he has played, showcasing his potential to perform well in the league.
Proven Match Winner
Alex Hales has been a proven match-winner with 17 man-of-the-match awards in 111 innings at the rate of one every 6.5 games. Additionally, his teams win 64 percent of games when he scores 30 or more runs, with that number increasing to 73 percent when he scores 50 or more, a score he reaches every 4.44 innings. He has 3 hundreds since 2018 with only Australians, Aaron Finch and Shane Watson coming close with 4 and 3 centuries respectively. Just over half of his runs have come in the second innings which means he is an asset not only while chasing targets but setting them as well.
Impact For The Knights
Hales has scored 63 percent of his runs in the powerplay phase. All these stats bode well for KKR in the coming season. They can look to leverage his services in taking advantage of the powerplay and getting the team off to flying starts. More often that not teams that do well in the powerplay end up on the winning side. Being right-handed he can also act as a perfect foil to the left-handed Venkatesh Iyer and create problems for the opposition bowlers by disrupting their line and length. Hales’s attacking prowess can also let Iyer play without scoreboard pressure and focus on building a solid foundation for the rest of the batsmen.
These stats and the potential impact to the team suggest that KKR may have indeed pulled off a coup by signing the experienced and explosive Alex Hales for just the base price of INR 1.5 crores.
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