Dan Christian believes the return of Alex Hales can be a catalyst for the Outlaws to take back-to-back wins from their weekend games against Derbyshire Falcons and Northamptonshire Steelbacks.
The Australian international made his debut at Headingley against Yorkshire Vikings last Friday but couldn’t help his side to victory, the Outlaws falling to a 40-run defeat. Christian, however, believes the return of Hales is a boost to the Outlaws’ chances of getting back on track.
“Alex Hales coming back in to the side is a huge boost as he is one of the best players in the world,” Christian said.
“If nothing else it is a welcome psychological boost for everyone in the squad to have such a destructive player coming in at the top of the order.
“It will give the rest of the lads confidence for when they go out and play their own roles in the side, so his return will be brilliant for us.”
Hales scored 165 runs in England’s 3-2 Royal London One-Day International series triumph over New Zealand, including his first two ODI fifties, as he formed an explosive opening partnership with Jason Roy.
And Christian believes the England international’s recent performances show what England had previously been missing in the 50 over arena.
“He has done really well in the international game over recent times and that is a perfect example as to why he should have been playing in the World Cup,” Christian said.
“Having a player like that at the top of the order can be great, as can be seen from the likes of Aaron Finch and David Warner and what they have done for Australia.
“Hales is a similar player and there is no reason why he shouldn’t have been doing it for England for a long time before now.
“It is great he has got that opportunity now and I hope he keeps going well.”
With Christian in town as a T20 specialist overseas player, the forthcoming double header marks an opportunity for him to make a telling impact, and he’s hoping to produce all-round performances that help the Outlaws to consecutive victories.
“My role is to play the situation when I come to the crease, but I do like to take a few balls before getting going and hopefully I can do that when searching for the victory this weekend,” he added.
“T20 is a momentum game and you find that if you win one, you can go on a run of positive results and move up the table.
“The group is really tight at the moment and we are only one win off the top three, so a couple of good performances can change everything.
“This weekend is huge for us and we will be looking to get momentum from the Derbyshire game to take back home for the Saturday match against Northants.”