England name their squad for Australia at The Oval on Wednesday morning, with Hales having an outside chance of a Test recall following a fine summer that has seen the Nottinghamshire batsman average 47 in the County Championship.
The 28-year-old, a key member of England’s one-day team who next face West Indies in the third ODI at Bristol tomorrow, played 11 Tests as an opener before he was discarded.
But he has since reinvented himself as a middle-order batsman in red-ball cricket and his form has given him hope he could be included in England’s Ashes squad.
“If I was in Alex’s position I’d just do as much as I can and see if I was selected,” said Morgan.
“But certainly, in the form he’s shown throughout this summer he’s got to be one of the most in-form batsmen in county cricket at the moment.
“He’s a massive part of our side. When you get dropped from any team there are a lot of questions you ask yourself and there’s a lot of questions asked of you by a lot of people outside our bubble.
“So, coming back from that shows huge character and to show the form he has shown has been incredible.”
Jos Buttler is another of England’s key limited-overs players hopeful of earning an Ashes call-up.
Buttler has not played Test cricket since last winter’s tour of India, when he was the reserve wicketkeeper but featured in three Tests as a specialist batsman.
However, the one-day keeper is expected to be overlooked as reserve gloveman for the Ashes in favour of Surrey’s Ben Foakes.
With England’s focus in limited-overs cricket firmly fixed on the home World Cup in 2019, the team’s management have encouraged players to broaden their white-ball experiences by taking part in various T20 tournaments around the globe.
To that end Buttler and Hales have back-up plans in case they are overlooked for the Ashes, with the former agreeing a deal to play in the Bangladesh Premier League and the latter signing for Stellenbosch Kings in South Africa’s new T20 Global League.
Yet Morgan would prefer both to be part of the Test squad in Australia.
“Jos is going to Bangladesh and Alex is going to Stellenbosch in South Africa – that’s their alternative plans,” said Morgan.
“I’d like to see them play in an Ashes series. Ashes and World Cups are the pinnacles of our careers so to see guys playing in that and doing well would boost their confidence massively. They have a huge amount of ability in all three formats of the game and if an opportunity presented itself in an Ashes series as opposed to a T20 league I’d say take the Ashes every time.”
England (probable): Hales, Bairstow, Root, Morgan (c), tokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen, Woakes, Plunkett, Rashid, Willey.
West Indies (probable): Lewis, K Hope, S Hope (wicketkeeper), Samuels, Mohammed, Powell, Holder (captain), Nurse, Taylor, Cummins, Williams.
Umpires: S Fry (Australia), RBailey (England).
TV Umpire: R Tucker (Australia).
Match referee: Javagal Srinath (India).
TV: Sky Sports Cricket 10.30am (11am start).
Source : EXPRESS