Timing is Everything – On and Off the Field
Timing is everything. Ask any batsmen. With one or two exceptions (Chris Gayle), the ball is going nowhere if you don’t time it properly, big bat or not.
But picking ones moments to shine, or fail, can be just as important as stroking the ball through the covers with a crisp drive on the first morning of a game.
Timing is everything.
Which is why Alex Hales fine for breaching the ICC Code of Conduct during the current Test against Pakistan is more noteworthy than had it been, say, Joe Root.
Hales has undoubtedly improved since making his debut during the Boxing Day Test in South Africa last winter, and recently passed 500 runs at the sports highest level.
The trouble is, he yet to score a Test match hundred and his average is a moderate 29.21 despite having opportunities to really nail down his place along side Alastair Cook at the top of England’s batting order.
Where Root’s ability is beyond doubt, to stick with the earlier hypothetical example, Hales still has something to prove – even with the progress he has made. And making waves for ‘other reasons’ only seeks to add further question marks against his place in the England team.
This isn’t a call to drop Hales. Personally I believe he has shown enough improvement to deserve a little extra rope on the ‘maiden Test ton’ front, especially as he has five half-centuries to his name in 19 innings.
But others remain less convinced and the hand wringing over whether Sam Robson, or even Adam Lyth, deserve another shot every time Hales wobbles is perhaps understandable (even if it is frustrating for those of us who lived through England’s previous chop and change eras).
And so, while question marks remain over Hales future in the England team, his decision to approach the third umpire, and provide a little extra fun for lip readers, seems even more ill advised.
It was undoubtedly born out of frustration. Hales admits he is aware of the chatter, he knows he needs to secure that first Test hundred to silence a the critics. Being given out in somewhat controversial circumstances was merely another log on the fire of this particular melting pot.
But cooler heads needed to prevail. If only to prevent further fanning of flames.
Much like Scott Borthwick’s dip in form earlier this summer probably opened the door for Gary Ballance to make a Test return, Hales risks opening the door for someone else this winter if he is better known for his outbursts than his batting.
There is an element of hyperbole here – it is not as if Hales is a repeat offender in this regard. But sometimes once indiscretion can provide enough grease to slide someone out the door.
This incident should not be the end of Alex Hales. It probably won’t be the end of Alex Hales. But if doubts linger, this sorry affair will come up again and his temperament will be questioned as a result.
Timing is everything.