Hales spent a lengthy spell in the international wilderness after a positive drugs test in the lead-up to the 50-over World Cup back in 2019.
He only returned to the England fold on the eve of this tournament following Jonny Bairstow’s broken leg and Jason Roy’s drop in form.
But after bludgeoning England to a 10-wicket victory over India with 86 runs off 47 balls in yesterday’s semi-final, he was adamant that he was not being driven by a desire to prove a point.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “That’s not what’s on my mind. I’m just playing with a smile on my face in an England shirt again. It’s not why I play the game for stuff like that.
“To get the chance to play for England again in a time where I feel like I’m playing the best T20 cricket of my career is a great feeling and maybe a chance I didn’t think would come around again. I’m keen to make the most of it. I just want to enjoy myself and play at the highest level.”
Hales has starred with the bat in England’s last two must-win matches, and England will again look to him to play an integral role in Sunday’s final against Pakistan.
The forecast in Melbourne for the match is for rain and potentially severe thunderstorms. A reserve day is in place on Monday with the playing window on Monday extended by two hours amid concerns over the weather.
The final needs 10 overs a side to be played for it to constitute a match – in contrast to just five overs in the group stages. If that doesn’t happen before the close of play on Monday, England and Pakistan will be declared joint-winners.
To get to the final, Hales was ably assisted by Jos Buttler in the run chase against India as they put on a record T20 partnership for England of 170.
And Hales said: “To beat them by 10 wickets and do something special with Jos at the top of the order, it’s as good as it gets in cricket. This was just one of those special nights and it would be the icing on the cake to leave with a medal.”