Chris Waters: Dressing room '˜banter' sees Alex Hales lift the lid on Yorkshire's England stars

MOST retired sportsmen will tell you that what they miss most is the dressing room banter.

FUN AND GAMES: England's players celebrate taking the wicket of South Africa's Chris Morris at Headingley. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

Never mind the adulation and acclaim, the garlands and the glory, it is the camaraderie of team-mates that cannot be replaced.

What goes on in the dressing room usually stays in the dressing room, at least until everyone connected has hung up their whites.

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So it was interesting to read an article in the official programme for the one-day international between England and South Africa at Headingley on Wednesday in which England batsman Alex Hales lifted the lid on some of the characters and chat in the present England set-up.

It was all tongue-in-cheek, with just a few lines reserved for each player, but Hales’s “guide to the dressing room” deserves a wider audience.

Particularly so given that five of the 14 players under the Nottinghamshire man’s microscope represent Yorkshire. So step forward Messrs Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett and David Willey, and now shut your eyes...

Let us start with Rashid.

“Hilarious bloke,” says Hales. “Moeen (Ali) gets stuck into him the most for not being the most intellectual. One time, a few guys were ordering steaks in a restaurant and after a couple of them asked to have theirs ‘medium’, Rash then requested ‘large’. That sums him up.”

JOKER IN THE PACK: England's Alex Hales. Picture: Tim Goode/PA

As an aside, one has it on impeccable authority that the Yorkshire team once wound up Rashid by suggesting that he should have brought his passport for a game in Wales. Indeed, when the team bus stopped in a stage-managed exercise near the border, story has it that a former Yorkshire and England all-rounder pretended to climb on board masquerading as a passport control officer while the player took cover.

But back to Hales’s guide ...

Like Jason Roy, Bairstow is described as an “angry man when he gets out”.

Hales says: “I once saw him destroy a helmet using his own head. He just kept head-butting it.”

Adil Rashid came in for some gentle ribbing from team-mate Alex Hales in the programme notes for Wednesday's Headingley ODI. Picture: PA.

However, he adds the admiring caveat: “Jonny is a great guy to have in the team; very competitive, very professional and always first to arrive to start his preparation.”

Hales describes Plunkett as “a funny bloke and probably one of the weirder ones ... he’s got a lovely beard and is a pretty, pure-looking bloke, so there’s not much material for mickey-taking. Instead, he likes to tease the masseur, Mark Saxby, so you normally find him lurking in his room.”

And Willey?

Along with Jake Ball, who is “always sending text messages to his girlfriend because he’s so much under the thumb”, Hales describes Willey as “another one who is very much in love at the moment,” adding: “He’s very easy to get stuck into but the annoying thing is he takes it really well, so the guys can get bored of him not responding pretty quickly and move onto the next victim.”

JOKER IN THE PACK: England's Alex Hales. Picture: Tim Goode/PA

And Root?

“Rooty can usually be found sitting there working on his bats - he’s probably got 10 or 12 of them lined up at any given time and is always applying bits of tape or putting on grips. He is very meticulous and likes them to be immaculate.”

Root appears to get off rather lightly in Hales’s “dirt-dishing” exercise.

Might it be a coincidence that he is the recently-appointed Test captain?

Hales ain’t daft.

Adil Rashid came in for some gentle ribbing from team-mate Alex Hales in the programme notes for Wednesday's Headingley ODI. Picture: PA.