The men's T20 World Cup returns next month – less than a year since Australia claimed the previous edition of the tournament. And Alex Hales looks poised to open the batting for England Down Under as his three-year international exile comes to an end following Jonny Bairstow's freak injury.
During his time away from international cricket, Hales has continued to be one of the leading T20 openers in the world. He was the top run scorer in the 2020/21 Big Bash and played a key role as Trent Rockets won this season’s Hundred.
Can Hales help a new-look England T20 team topple Australia on home turf? The Aussies were relatively unfancied before winning last year's T20 World Cup in the UAE but will be expected to perform at home.
When is it?
The cricket tournament gets under way with Sri Lanka facing Namibia on October 16. It runs for nearly a month with the final scheduled for November 13.
Who will host the T20 World Cup?
Australia will defend their title on home turf. Matches are taking place across the country at the MCG, The SCG, the Gabba, the Adelaide Oval, the Perth Stadium, the Bellerive Oval in Hobart and Kardina Park in Geelong.
How can I watch?
Every match of the tournament will be shown live on Sky Sports.
How does the tournament work?
The first stage of the T20 World Cup involves eight teams that had to go through a qualification phase: Namibia, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands in Group A and then Ireland, Scotland, Zimbabwe and West Indies in Group B.
Essentially forming the preliminary stage, the winner and runner-up from each group move forward to the next group stage, joining the teams already qualified. So Australia, Afghanistan, England, New Zealand and Group A winner and Group B runner-up will be in Group 1, while Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, South Africa, and Group B winner and Group A runner-up make up Group 2.
After playing each other in the group, the top two from each group of the Super 12 stage progress to the knockout stages, comprising semi-finals and the final, the latter on November 13.
What is England's T20 World Cup squad?
Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Alex Hales.
Standby Players: Liam Dawson, Richard Gleeson, Tymal Mills.
What is the latest news?
Alex Hales returns to England's white-ball squad after Jonny Bairstow sustained a suspected broken leg in a freak accident on the golf course and was ruled out of the T20 World Cup.
The Yorkshireman suffered the injury just hours after he was named as Jos Buttler’s opening partner at the tournament in place of the axed Jason Roy.
Hales has not played international cricket for three years, but he has a fine T20i record, averaging 31 with a strike rate of 137 in his 60 matches. During the 2014 World Cup he scored an undefeated 116 against Sri Lanka, which remains the only century by an England batsman in a 20-over world cup.
How are England expected to do?
Under new white-ball coach Matthew Mott England haven't fared that well. They have lost their two recent T20 series against South Africa and India and only have seven matches away in Pakistan and a three-match series against Australia in which to find form before their first match in the tournament, against Afghanistan on October 22.
They went into last year's tournament as favourites before losing to New Zealand in the semi-final and have the firepower to go all the way. But they could do with some confidence-boosting wins before it all kicks off.
What are the latest odds?
New Zealand 46/5
South Africa 10/1
Information correct as of September 5