Alex Hales’ attempts to ensure he is England’s T20 World Cup plans will continue this winter, after he was announced as a marquee player for the Mzansi Super League in South Africa.
Hales will play for Durban Heat, and is one of four marquee overseas signings appearing in the league for the first time along with compatriots Tom Curran (Tshwane Spartans) and David Willey (Paarl Rocks), and Pakistan seamer Wahab Riaz (Cape Town Blitz).
The other international marquee players are the retained pair of Jason Roy (Nelson Mandela Bay Giants) and Chris Gayle (Jozi Stars).
There is one change among the domestic marquee players, with Andile Phehlukwayo replacing Hashim Amla at Durban Heat.
Hales was deselected from England’s 50-over World Cup squad after a 21-day ban for using recreational drugs, and in May said that he was targeting the T20 World Cup in Australia next year for a potential comeback. He opted out of first-class cricket last year and his attempts to focus on cricket have been limited to seven appearances in the Vitality Blast.
“I hope the door is not closed. That’s one of my aims, that T20 World Cup,” Hales said at the Caribbean Premier League draft in May. “I’m going to go through the process, hopefully score some runs in these tournaments and see how we go. I want to enjoy my cricket.
“I think it’s a good opportunity,” he said of his attempts to use franchise leagues as a springboard. “These tournaments now are well respected all around the world, particularly by the selectors and ECB. I’d love to use these tournaments to hopefully get back into the frame for next year.”
Hales will play in the CPL for Barbados Tridents, and has another year on his deal with Rangpur Riders in the Bangladesh Premier League. He has scored 207 runs for Nottinghamshire in the ongoing Vitality Blast, with two fifties and a strike rate of 140.54.
The MSL is scheduled for November and December – though the exact dates are yet to be finalised – and England’s players will likely arrive straight after their five-match T20I series in New Zealand at the start of November. If Roy keeps his spot in the Test team, he may miss the first handful of games playing in England’s two-Test series there.
The list of other retained players was released last week. The exact date of the player draft is yet to be confirmed, though it is likely to be in early September.
South African marquee players: Quinton de Kock (Cape Town Blitz), Andile Phehlukwayo (Durban Heat), Kagiso Radaba (Jozi Stars), Imran Tahir (Nelson Mandela Bay Giants), Faf du Plessis (Paarl Rocks), AB de Villiers (Tshwane Spartans)
International marquee players: Wahab Riaz (Cape Town Blitz), Alex Hales (Durban Heat), Chris Gayle (Jozi Stars), Jason Roy (Nelson Mandela Bay Giants), David Willey (Paarl Rocks), Tom Curran (Tshwane Spartans)