England v India, 3rd Investec Test, Ageas Bowl, 3rd day July 30, 2014

Time for Moeen to be given respect

Moeen Ali has 11 wickets at 33 against India. He might not be comparable to Graeme Swann, but it is time he gained the respect he deserves
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Play 05:16
#politeenquiries: Have England reached the turning point?

The story so far:

Kumar Sangakkara: Headingley, Second Test, England v Sri Lanka:
Sangakkara, set up by a couple of deliveries that have spun gently away from his outside edge, prods forward only to find that this ball is pushed on a little quicker and does not turn. The batsman, one of the best players in the world of spin bowling, calls for a review, but the umpire's leg before decision is upheld.

Lahiru Thirimanne: Headingley, Second Test, England v Sri Lanka:
Thirimanne, having fallen first ball in the first innings and having just watched Sangakkara dismissed by one that went straight one, ensures his pad is well out of the way, only to see his tentative forward defensive stroke beaten by a beauty that drifts in and spin away sharply to hit the top of his off stump.

Virat Kohli: Lord's, Second Test, England v India:
The spinner is introduced into the attack for an over before lunch. It is not a visionary piece of captaincy, but it almost works. Kohli, on 20, plays back to one that is pushed through a little quicker but sees the outside edge dropped by Matt Prior.

Cheteshwar Pujara: The Ageas Bowl, Third Test, England v India:
The spinner struck in his first over once again as Pujara, the man dubbed the 'new wall', is drawn forward, but due to some gentle drift away from the bat and gentle turn into it, plays down the wrong line and edges to slip.

Virat Kohli: The Ageas Bowl, Third Test, England v India:
Kohli falls victim, once again, to a delivery outside off stump that could probably have been left. With some balls turning and others skidding on a little, Kohli lunges forward to cover the turn, but instead edges one that slides straight on.

At some stage, people are going to have start respecting Moeen Ali's bowling.

To claim the occasional wicket might be dismissed as fortuitous. After all, Michael Vaughan once bowled Sachin Tendulkar with a beauty that spun through the gate.

But if it keeps happening, if a bowler keeps dismissing batsman of the quality of those listed above, then he deserves a little more credit. A little more respect.

It was talk of the doosra that excited when Moeen was selected by England. But that delivery, at this stage, was always likely to be a red herring.

It was not an explosive wicket-taker that England were seeking. It was a reliable container with the ability to exploit turning conditions on the rare occasions when they were encountered. It was a bowler who could retain control while the seamers were rested and would not wilt under pressure when the batsmen came at him.

These are early days, but the signs are promising. Here, bowling a tight off stump line and benefiting from a dry, worn pitch, he saw a few balls turn sharply and many others skid straight on through natural variation. He rendered a batting line-up brought up on turning pitches, a batting line-up renowned as fine players of the turning ball, appear timid and vulnerable. And he did it all with the skills of a traditional English offspinner. There has not been a doosra in sight in this game.

Part of Moeen's problem is that he follows in the footsteps of Graeme Swann. Swann raised the bar by which English spinners were judged and may prove, as Sir Ian Botham once did, an impossible act to follow.

But it is unlikely that Swann would have enjoyed the docile surfaces at Trent Bridge and Lord's any more than Moeen. He might have contained more effectively with his dip and his control, but he would have struggled to run through sides on these pitches. In the 2011 series against India, Swann claimed 14 wickets in four Tests at an average of 40.69. Moeen already has 11 in three Tests at an average of 33. Nine of Swann's wickets came in the final Test at The Oval.

Perhaps being underestimated has helped Moeen. In the first innings, he benefited from Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane attempting to dominate him. Routinely dismissed as a "part-time" spinner - generally by part-time observers who have not have visited New Road for a few years - Moeen has dismissed four of India's top six in this Test alone. Only James Anderson of England and Bhuvneshwar Kumar of India have taken more wickets in the series. He is winning the battle of the spinners, too. Ravi Jadeja's eight wickets have come at a cost of 48 apiece.

Moeen's development might be partially credited to the benefits of an 18-county system. While he made his first professional appearances for Warwickshire, it is at Worcestershire that he has developed.

He has enjoyed little luck, either. He saw Kohli dropped off his bowling at Lord's, Herath dropped off his bowling at Leeds and Dhawan and Rahane reprieved in this match when the use of DRS would have assured him more wickets. Playing his fifth Test, he has 14 Test wickets and has taken his bowling average below 40. They are not world-class figures, certainly. But they are valuable and respectable. Ashley Giles finished his career with a Test bowling average of 40.60.

The facts never supported the view that Moeen was a "part-time" bowler. Heading into this match, he had claimed 101 first-class wickets since the start of 2012 at an average of 33.31. That compares to Scott Borthwick (76 at 35.56), Samit Patel (70 at 44.80), Adil Rashid (71 at 38.16), Simon Kerrigan (149 at 29.55) and Monty Panesar (157 at 31.03). Moeen may never be a world beater, but to dismiss him as part time is simply factually inaccurate.

There are still too many 'release' balls - a long-hop here; a full toss there - but gradually Moeen is offering his captain the control he requires in the field and relieving just a bit of the pressure on the main seamers. After conceding five-an-over in two of his first five innings as a Test bowler, he has not done so once in the last five. Three times in the last four innings, he has conceded under three-an-over. He is learning fast how to survive at this level. A great deal of that process is simply learning how to stay on for another over.

There should be a lot more to come from him, too. He has spent many hours in the nets with his friend and county colleague Saeed Ajmal - the value of overseas players in county cricket should never be underestimated - learning the art of the doosra. Some days they will bowl 40 or 50 in succession together, with Moeen gradually increasing the pace of the delivery as well as its accuracy and venom. Saeed, who only started bowling the delivery in his mid-to-late-20s, believes that Moeen will have it mastered within a couple of years.

If England bear with him - just as they will need to bear with the likes of Jos Buttler, Gary Ballance and Chris Jordan in good times and bad over the next couple of years - they should reap a rich harvest.

Moeen's development might be partially credited to the benefits of an 18-county system in England. While he made his first professional appearances for Warwickshire, it is at Worcestershire that he has developed. The club offered him a place in their side as an allrounder in all forms of the game at a time when Warwickshire's then coach, Mark Greatbatch, said he could not see Moeen earning a regular place in his side for another five years.

Moeen's contribution was part of an almost perfect day for England. By wrapping up the Indian innings so quickly in the morning - it took just 25 balls to claim the final two wickets - they gave themselves an opportunity to enforce the follow-on.

Instead they decided - reasonably enough - to give their bowlers another few hours rest.

If that decision might have been perceived as negative, the manner in which they increased their lead was admirably positive. Each of the top five played selflessly with Alastair Cook judging a tricky declaration with something close to perfection. He really has enjoyed a fine match to date.

For the first time in a year, the fragile signs of recovery are visible in the England side.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on July 31, 2014, 1:05 GMT

    obviously cant term him in same class as swann but he is definately a value player. bowling is improving and so far he has bowled on the wickets which doesnt have much to offer for spinners. jadeja has not done much either. plus his batting and that 100 against SL which almost saved the series for england was a positive sign and a plus point. if he can bowl better with this sort of batting performances then what else england need. as mentioned in article , not much options available. only 2 have slightly better avg for the period mentioned but he gives more in batting than simmon and monty. time with ajmal might also help. just need some more games and may be supportive wickets.

  • 5wombats on August 1, 2014, 18:00 GMT

    @Raheel Akhtar on (July 31, 2014, 22:54 GMT) you state: "First of all Swann was an ordinary bowler, you cannot compare Swann with Ajmal". Rubbish. For one thing - nobody here is comparing Swann with Ajmal - only you are. Here we are talking about Moeen. Before you make bald provokative statements (like @kingman75...) why not check your facts, and these are: 255 Test wickets at 30. Swann picked 5 wickets in Australia (1), India (1), Sri Lanka (2), South Africa (2), West Indies (2). He picked a 10-wicket haul in Sri Lanka. He picked lots of 5-wicket and one 10-wicket haul in England - which is not easy to do. Swann WAS a good bowler. Produce facts to support your case or do not post your unevidenced opinions here..

  • Biggus on August 1, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    @5wombats:- Yep, I saw Moeen take that bundle in the second dig and his enthusiasm is infectious, a bit like Nathan Lyon, he obviously just LOVES being out there. With a few of your guys looking a little jaded in recent times it couldn't hurt to have a live wire out on the field. I like the guy and hope he does well for England. Besides, he has a beard W.G.Grace would be proud of. What's not to like eh? Not nearly enough facial hair in the game these days I reckon.

  • pestonji on August 1, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    Based on the highlights it seems a lot of moeens wickets came from very bad balls. Plus the wicket really helped him in the second innings. I think india is suffering from west Indies syndrome. They are slowly forgetting how to play test cricket. I think modern has a long way to go before being considered a good spinner.

  • on July 31, 2014, 22:54 GMT

    First of all Swann was an ordinary bowler, you cannot compare Swann with Ajmal, Murli Herath. So if you are setting a standard of Spin bowling with he likes of Swann you guys are making a mockery of spin bowling.

    Moeen Ali will be more successful then Swann, mark my words, plus this guy is a very decent let handed batsmen. He is a perfect all rounder. he is going to become Hafeez, who is more effective on his spin bowling rather then his batting. So yeah give this guy more games and see the magic. Fantastic Bowling by the way keep it up Moeen Bro RESPECT

  • 5wombats on July 31, 2014, 20:19 GMT

    @Biggus Hey my old friend! How the devil are you!! Look - with all the pounding we've been taking lately quite honestly things could only get better! No one is claiming Moeen is the finished article or even possibly the real deal, but look - he's taking wickets - the wickets of people who are supposed to be good players of spin. He's scoring runs too. The other thing is - this boy has a top attitude. I don't know if you got any coverage - but I'm telling you that when Moeen picked his sixth and won the game he had a smile wider than the Bass Strait! Nice to see smiles back on the faces of our players again. Hard to believe whats happened to England in the last 9 months..... Keep talking mate and keep a tinny cold for me will ya'.

  • BashirKhalozi on July 31, 2014, 18:23 GMT

    Ofcourse Moeen Ali can become Ajmal for England . he should given chance to play every format cricket. and he has an extra talent ase he an allrounder ...

  • on July 31, 2014, 13:55 GMT

    Or to put it another way George, 'I told you so.' And, to be fair, you did.

  • AntonDeck on July 31, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    Look at SA. They insist on continuing with Tahir who is far worse than Moeen in his returns, yet because he cant bat is considered a specialist spinner. Meanwhile Duminy sits in the middle order providing as much is not more as a spinner, and retaining his place as a mediocre batsman. With Kallis gone now they surely have to admit they need to pick 4 seamers and rely on the all rounder spin unless on absolute dustbowls. Little difference to England and Moeen, they just dont have a "proper" spinner to challenge his place. For this summer and the forseeable future his selection is a no brainer regardless of one innings of Indians not bothering.

  • Biggus on July 31, 2014, 12:39 GMT

    @5wombats:- Good win for your lot mate. Moeen Ali looks useful but I'm with YorkshirePudding atm on his bowling. India's woeful collapse against him isn't the proper benchmark quite yet. Many of them got themselves out really. Nevertheless he's the best apart from Swann I've seen you guys field in recent times and he may develop into a specialist. The idea of batting him at number 8 and selecting another batsman has a lot to recommend it IMHO but that's contingent on him continuing to take wickets. Some good signs anyway.

  • on July 31, 2014, 1:05 GMT

    obviously cant term him in same class as swann but he is definately a value player. bowling is improving and so far he has bowled on the wickets which doesnt have much to offer for spinners. jadeja has not done much either. plus his batting and that 100 against SL which almost saved the series for england was a positive sign and a plus point. if he can bowl better with this sort of batting performances then what else england need. as mentioned in article , not much options available. only 2 have slightly better avg for the period mentioned but he gives more in batting than simmon and monty. time with ajmal might also help. just need some more games and may be supportive wickets.

  • 5wombats on August 1, 2014, 18:00 GMT

    @Raheel Akhtar on (July 31, 2014, 22:54 GMT) you state: "First of all Swann was an ordinary bowler, you cannot compare Swann with Ajmal". Rubbish. For one thing - nobody here is comparing Swann with Ajmal - only you are. Here we are talking about Moeen. Before you make bald provokative statements (like @kingman75...) why not check your facts, and these are: 255 Test wickets at 30. Swann picked 5 wickets in Australia (1), India (1), Sri Lanka (2), South Africa (2), West Indies (2). He picked a 10-wicket haul in Sri Lanka. He picked lots of 5-wicket and one 10-wicket haul in England - which is not easy to do. Swann WAS a good bowler. Produce facts to support your case or do not post your unevidenced opinions here..

  • Biggus on August 1, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    @5wombats:- Yep, I saw Moeen take that bundle in the second dig and his enthusiasm is infectious, a bit like Nathan Lyon, he obviously just LOVES being out there. With a few of your guys looking a little jaded in recent times it couldn't hurt to have a live wire out on the field. I like the guy and hope he does well for England. Besides, he has a beard W.G.Grace would be proud of. What's not to like eh? Not nearly enough facial hair in the game these days I reckon.

  • pestonji on August 1, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    Based on the highlights it seems a lot of moeens wickets came from very bad balls. Plus the wicket really helped him in the second innings. I think india is suffering from west Indies syndrome. They are slowly forgetting how to play test cricket. I think modern has a long way to go before being considered a good spinner.

  • on July 31, 2014, 22:54 GMT

    First of all Swann was an ordinary bowler, you cannot compare Swann with Ajmal, Murli Herath. So if you are setting a standard of Spin bowling with he likes of Swann you guys are making a mockery of spin bowling.

    Moeen Ali will be more successful then Swann, mark my words, plus this guy is a very decent let handed batsmen. He is a perfect all rounder. he is going to become Hafeez, who is more effective on his spin bowling rather then his batting. So yeah give this guy more games and see the magic. Fantastic Bowling by the way keep it up Moeen Bro RESPECT

  • 5wombats on July 31, 2014, 20:19 GMT

    @Biggus Hey my old friend! How the devil are you!! Look - with all the pounding we've been taking lately quite honestly things could only get better! No one is claiming Moeen is the finished article or even possibly the real deal, but look - he's taking wickets - the wickets of people who are supposed to be good players of spin. He's scoring runs too. The other thing is - this boy has a top attitude. I don't know if you got any coverage - but I'm telling you that when Moeen picked his sixth and won the game he had a smile wider than the Bass Strait! Nice to see smiles back on the faces of our players again. Hard to believe whats happened to England in the last 9 months..... Keep talking mate and keep a tinny cold for me will ya'.

  • BashirKhalozi on July 31, 2014, 18:23 GMT

    Ofcourse Moeen Ali can become Ajmal for England . he should given chance to play every format cricket. and he has an extra talent ase he an allrounder ...

  • on July 31, 2014, 13:55 GMT

    Or to put it another way George, 'I told you so.' And, to be fair, you did.

  • AntonDeck on July 31, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    Look at SA. They insist on continuing with Tahir who is far worse than Moeen in his returns, yet because he cant bat is considered a specialist spinner. Meanwhile Duminy sits in the middle order providing as much is not more as a spinner, and retaining his place as a mediocre batsman. With Kallis gone now they surely have to admit they need to pick 4 seamers and rely on the all rounder spin unless on absolute dustbowls. Little difference to England and Moeen, they just dont have a "proper" spinner to challenge his place. For this summer and the forseeable future his selection is a no brainer regardless of one innings of Indians not bothering.

  • Biggus on July 31, 2014, 12:39 GMT

    @5wombats:- Good win for your lot mate. Moeen Ali looks useful but I'm with YorkshirePudding atm on his bowling. India's woeful collapse against him isn't the proper benchmark quite yet. Many of them got themselves out really. Nevertheless he's the best apart from Swann I've seen you guys field in recent times and he may develop into a specialist. The idea of batting him at number 8 and selecting another batsman has a lot to recommend it IMHO but that's contingent on him continuing to take wickets. Some good signs anyway.

  • 5wombats on July 31, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding on (July 31, 2014, 11:57 GMT) How are you! Good to be chatting again mate. Ye - a REALLY GOOD performance by Moeen today. The look of delight on his face when he got the fivefer was wonderful! On the other hand the look of complete mystification and baffledment on Jadeja's face when Moeen bowled him shows just how much India have themselves underestimated Moeen Ali. This is an excellent and unforeseen development for England - I have been really worried about the departure of Swann - with no obvious replacement except the quixotic Monty. I feel reassured now. In Moeen Ali England have a bowler who can take wickets on 4th and 5th day English surfaces AND dig in to get centuries. All great stuff. More please!

  • YorkshirePudding on July 31, 2014, 11:57 GMT

    @5wombats, while that's true, I do wonder whether its more a case of the batsmen not picking the arm ball, or if the arm ball is actually intentional, thus playing for spin when there isn't any.

    It was good to see him get 6 wickets, but I still believe that he isn't a full time spinner and so England need to look at other spin alternatives. My main concern is that his spin duties will detract from his batting, which is the skill he was mainly picked for.

  • Harlequin. on July 31, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    Now that Moeen has just finished off the Indians on day 5 in the manner that you would expect from your front-line spinner, it is safe to say that up until now, he has answered every question that has been asked of his bowling.

    Go Mo!

  • on July 31, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    Where it would be better to have a spin bowler rather than all rounder, let's not forget that Swann started out being classed as an all rounder and so was Tredwell. Ali started out as a Batsman and developed his spin much like Root has however, he is far better and isn't a part timer at all. He has in all fairness against the quality of batsmen we have played so far in tests done brilliantly and has today received his first 5 for. As he develops he will get better and where we may see a Doosra now and again but is he follows under Swanns bowling method which he has been then he will be successful. Give him some respect, I have always said he should be there and deserves it

  • SAF-Fan-no-1 on July 31, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    I always respect Good Manner Like I Always Do For Mr. Hashim...! Very Good Luck to Mr. Moin Ali - Make English Team proud..! Respect...! Respect.!

  • nlpdave on July 31, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    I'm not sure his bowling and it's limited success that is the issue, if he can't deal with the short ball better his position in the side will be threatened. You cannot play the short ball by looking at the wicket keeper and this isn't a 'technical' issue but an emotional one and consequently much harder to fix. Being frightened of the ball is a real downer in test cricket. Remember this is an Indian and Sri lankan attack that caused the problem not Australia's or South Africa's.

  • on July 31, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    As a Worcestershire supporter, much of the commentary around Moeen has been exasperating. We have known for several years that he is of international quality. Look at his record, and his performances with ball and bat - those 150 first class wickets, and 14 centuries and 43 50's, don't lie. Respect from many quarters is (over)due.

  • Prabhash1985 on July 31, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    This is the best programme in cricketing world... love it! Great to have Rahul Dravid in this... Sooooo nice to see him, and especially his humble smile... Great great great man!

  • anver777 on July 31, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    Without Swann he's really doing a great job as a sole spinner.... his ability of having vital breakthroughs is a real bonus for ENG in this series !!!!!

  • 5wombats on July 31, 2014, 9:37 GMT

    @ydoethur on (July 31, 2014, 7:22 GMT) - agreed. Moeen's bowling has been something of a revelation! He seems to me to be a better bowler than Ashley Giles - and a far better bat. So - ! Bravo the England selectors for picking him. @Kingman75. You state; "Swann and Ali belong in the category of very ordinary spinners. It is a myth that Swann was good." Rubbish. Swann picked 5 wickets in Australia (1), India (1), Sri Lanka (2), South Africa (2), West Indies (2). He picked a 10-wicket haul in Sri Lanka. He picked lots of 5-wicket and one 10-wicket haul in England - which is not easy to do. Swann WAS a good bowler. Produce facts to support your case or do not post here. Moeen is very early into his England career, it is far too soon to say whether he will become a good spin bowler for England.

  • on July 31, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    its just an illusion I assure u... let him come to India where the seamers can't dominate batsmen and let him then show off his skills... swann was pivotal to England s series victory in India in 2012.... so moeen ali might have got lucky with the facts that - 1. he s up against a 'not so confident' group of batsmen who have suffered against Anderson and broad in this test and 2. when the bowling team has a cushion of 445 runs even part timers will seem like Warne and murali

  • Zahidsaltin on July 31, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    @Vaughanographic, I would agree if England had Gary Sobers or Imran Khan in waiting but until you have such quality, Moeen has 11 wickets in 3 tests with the best strike rate among English bowlers and that too against India.

  • CodandChips on July 31, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    People talk of Stokes and Woakes as potential genuine allrounders. But it is perhaps Moeen Ali has the most potential to be a genuine allrounder.

  • dunger.bob on July 31, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    I'm not sure if he's a part timer or not, but he certainly seems to be picking up wickets regularly. As others have pointed out, he's mainly in the side as a batsman so I'd say he's exceeded expectations by quite a ways.

    I reckon he has to play a few series away from England before his bowling can be reasonably assessed. Let's see how he's going in 12 months time before deciding if he's a part-timer or not.

  • Harlequin. on July 31, 2014, 7:52 GMT

    Thank you Mr Dobell!!

    I have been saying since his first test, that the problem with Moeen is that he bats excellently. If he had been putting in these performances, whilst being picked as a no. 10/11, then people would have been a lot more lenient. Fans were still asking for Kerrigan to be picked - Moeen has had an infinitely better start, but because he has scored a couple of tons as well, in the eyes of some that automatically makes him a part-timer. 'Routinely dismissed as a "part-time" spinner - generally by part-time observers' is an excellent line.

    As I have said on other forums, if Moeen develops in the same way that, for example, Nathan Lyon has developed and continues scoring tons, then England will have one of the most valuable players in test cricket.

  • Vaughanographic on July 31, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    If he is such a good bowler play him as one of your 4 frontline bowlers! If not, then let's stop all these articles about him.

    You dont see the same fuss being made of JP Duminy or Mohammed Hafeez?

    The main fact is, Ali has been selected as one of the top 6 batsmen, and yes as a bowler too, but first and foremost he is batting in the top 6 and has demonstrated a marked weakness against the short ball. Until he sorts that out or can be selected in a 4 man bowling attack then he doesn't deserve to be there.

  • ydoethur on July 31, 2014, 7:22 GMT

    @Ranjit Rajan, I think you have a good point. Maybe that's a legacy of Fletcher's time with England. When Fletcher arrived in England most Test tracks were seaming wickets that favoured medium-pace bowlers, were hard to bat on, and matches seldom lasted until day 5.

    As a result, spinners were a bit of a luxury at home, and he tended to favour utility cricketers (like Giles, or even more infamously Chris Schofield) for the spinner's slot. As Giles had a good record on turning tracks few minded his mostly rather bland performances in England. The later emergence of Panesar, a very unusual, flat and quick spinner who prospered on slow low wickets, may have further clouded his judgement about spin options.

    Since Swann emerged (who ironically was a better batsman and fielder than Giles) turn has been a legitimate weapon in England and pitches have reflected that. I doubt if Moeen would be the next Swann, but he's already looking a better spinner than Giles and should get better still.

  • on July 31, 2014, 7:13 GMT

    Rain only can stop England's victory and save Indians from this test match. Indian batsmen should stop 20/20 cricket culture. Bat with head down and build innings and build partnerships.

  • on July 31, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    He is looking very good as a bowler and deserve more chances as he got more wickets then jadejja the first choice spiner of India. I hope he will get few more wickets on final day and help England to level the series

  • Syed_imran_abbas on July 31, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    I think he is developing very quickly. He should be given more time. He is very valuable as he is proper batsman as well. Good luck Moeen. I hope you make it your day today.

  • on July 31, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    Moeen Ali is a breath of fresh air. He spins and often gets wickets - even of those who were brought up on spin; he often scores runs aplenty. Perhaps England has discovered a gem of an all-rounder. However, he is still a diamond in the rough. Nurture his talents well; treat him with patience and respect and he will then mature into a real GEM. Good luck Moeen. May you shine brightly for many a series more.

  • sundersingh on July 31, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    Too much spinners option leads to confusion.... and jaddu and ashwin combination will work for india... i think MSD is not inspired by selection by team management...thats why he was not defending when it needed during england second innings.. As for as ALI is considered, he is a good spinner and not worthy of taking top orders wicket.... he should be whacked in backfoot as our dravid laxman used to do by using the crease...

  • on July 31, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    Moeen's success indicates not only that the Indians haven't prepared themselves to deal with him, but also that they have under-rated the effectiveness of spin on English tracks. The non-selection of Ashwin against an English team with 5 left-handers and the baffling, ultra-defensive, leg-stump line that Dhoni set up for Jadeja, all point to this. Dhoni & Fletcher seem to to find it difficult to come out of the pre-concieved notion that spinners can't get them wickets in England (and overseas in general), and as a result have selected the less-attacking of their spinners in the XI and provided him with defensive fields.

  • landl47 on July 31, 2014, 3:28 GMT

    Moeen has certainly demonstrated the knack of taking wickets so far in his short test career. Ironically, that wasn't why he was picked; the selectors wanted someone who could keep an end quiet while the seamers had a rest between spells from the other end. That's not the role Moeen has played up to now, he hasn't bowled the long spells that role demands. Perhaps Cook will be more confident in his abilities after this test.

    Tomorrow will be a good test for him. The wicket (which has been an excellent test wicket) is taking spin and England needs 6 wickets. With Swann in the side, England would be odds on to wrap it up by mid-afternoon. Moeen will need to take another two or three wickets- a five-for would be nice- so he'll need to be sharp tomorrow.

    He seems to have some steel to him, so hopefully he can get the job done. Good luck to him.

  • MelbourneMiracle on July 31, 2014, 3:09 GMT

    Kholi's average in 6 innings: 16.83 Bhuvaneshwar's avg in 5 innings: 57.00

    And now can someone please tell me who's the better batsman in English conditions from these two?

  • pollachiprakash on July 31, 2014, 3:00 GMT

    Drop virat kohli he has scored only 101 runs in 6 innings ..even shami has scored 79 runs

  • Vindaliew on July 31, 2014, 2:57 GMT

    Swann also took a very long time before he established himself as England's spinner - so there's always time.

  • jmcilhinney on July 31, 2014, 2:06 GMT

    Certainly Swann's success has coloured how we view English spinners. When you consider that players like Giles were England's #1 spinner at times in the past and then compare what Moeen provides with the bat compared to them, he's significantly more valuable. Taking wickets of batsman from the subcontinent is certainly a good sign but the fact that they may have under-estimated him may have worked in his favour. It will be interesting to see what England do on their next trip to the subcontinent. They'll need a specialist spinner but Moeen will certainly be a more-than-handy #2. Who it is and how they compare will be interesting but it's unlikely that they'll do as well together as Monty and Swann did in India last time. Improving that doosra may be critical for Moeen and England by then.

  • nkoch on July 31, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    Pardon me for saying this but Moeen's bowling is nothing more than routine off-spin. The conditions and pressure exerted by other bowlers is helping him get the wickets. His wicket taking balls are no more harmless than routine off-spin. Indians probably have his kind of bowlers for breakfast on turning Indian wickets back home. Indians are giving him way too much respect than he deserves. In any case, one must admit Moeen has knack of taking wickets and braking partnerships and hope he continues that for England.

  • sumgad on July 31, 2014, 0:56 GMT

    Ali does not turn the ball much. He needs to be played on back foot. It is a pity that Indians who are use to much more turn are playing on the front foot by lunging forward and trying to smother the spin. A real shame as this test will be decided on the crucial wickets he has taken and will take. Where are the Indian coaches?

  • IAS2009 on July 31, 2014, 0:42 GMT

    he is decent bowler and good batsmen, he almost saved the test against SL, that was one disciplined batting effort from him, if he focus on controlling runs on first day of bowling is test he could do do well for himself and England in test team.

  • on July 31, 2014, 0:38 GMT

    Al is well for England. With Moeen Al spinning out better than India's "lead spinner" Sir Ravindra. Al Winter and Al Muthu had also been reporting the whole day, that al is well for England, and an elusive victory (at least for some time now) is in their grasp. Only al is not so well with the fanatic Indian fans, but for al genuine cricket lovers (even from India) that is al about test cricket. Try to enjoy al the remaining cricket in this test on the fifth day.

  • on July 31, 2014, 0:28 GMT

    He's learning fast. Its still his early days but he already showed his ability to take wickets even wicket loopy deliveries. I'm sure that he's is solution to English spin department. He can turn the ball and he's already doing it in this match. Ajmal's company has benefited his bowling and he's also getting tips from Saqlain. He's not a part timer anymore :) Best of luck to Moeen.

  • Paul_Somerset on July 30, 2014, 23:41 GMT

    In some ways he's comparable to Graeme Swann as a batsman: a good player of spin, but floundering somewhat in the face of accurate short-pitched fast bowling.

  • Diaz54 on July 30, 2014, 23:20 GMT

    The fact is there always some people who will never believe that he is capable and can improve given the confidence. One always feels people are waiting for him to fail in both departments. When he fails with the bat lot of people are very critical...when he got runs they were quite but not many approved his performance. These people harbour other things then cricket I am afraid. Any way wish him the best of luck.

  • on July 30, 2014, 23:14 GMT

    England have battled up to now against mediocre teams on home soil if they were playing the Proteas or even the Aussies, they would be hammered 5-0, Steyn and co would love to bowl at the England top order, I m afraid Ballance would be lbw most of the time

  • Kingman75 on July 30, 2014, 23:13 GMT

    Swann and Ali belong in the category of very ordinary spinners. It is a myth that Swann was good, he had a couple of years of good form but was very ordinary after that. Was made to look good by the form of Anderson and Broad. Lyon is of a similar mould too, when the fast bowlers are doing well, it's fine. But when he needs to step up and take second innings wickets, hasn't got a clue. And Ali, he should work for a charity, he keeps giving gifts to batsmen.

  • on July 30, 2014, 23:00 GMT

    Only few 'greats' are naturally gifted. Most of the 'greats' became great slowly after hard working, being loyal to their country, their passion for the game. Moeen seems 'mediocore' now, but he is building him slowly and consistently. I believe, after 10 years, many of the cricket-lovers & cricket-'experts' will mention Moeen as 'one of the great all rounders of this era', even he can be in the list of all-time great.

  • russell1967 on July 30, 2014, 22:59 GMT

    An article written by someone who ridiculed his selection. Hindsight doesn't make you a good judge, it just shows how flawed your opinion was in the first place

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 30, 2014, 22:51 GMT

    Well he's certainly better than Rohit Sharma at least, I'll give him that much. But test cricket still needs a specialist spinner (or two) to stand any chance of winning more games in virtually any conditions. What will England do when they tour subcontinent?

  • Sir_Francis on July 30, 2014, 22:40 GMT

    Not "bearing" with Sam Robson then?

  • on July 30, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    I believe Ian Chappel's comments about Moeen Ali are unfair and prejudiced. Ian does not like anything in Moeen and he has done so well both with bat and ball. I do not understand Ian's predefined opinions about players.

  • on July 30, 2014, 22:34 GMT

    Well, its not only part time observers dismissing Moeen as a part timer...most of the t.v commentary box have as well...yet he has a grooved action and many good attributes...a real bonus for England

  • jabberwocky123 on July 30, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    Excellent article as ever; I've been impotently shouting 'he's not a part-timer' at those cricket experts who don't follow cricket Warne and Holding.

    On an unrelated note, I don't have twitter but how about this for polite enquiries (in the unlikely event you enter the world of jingoistic abuse by reading the comments on your articles):

    Is Rahul Dravid a nicer man than DJ Sammy?

  • on July 30, 2014, 21:38 GMT

    He also has great batting ability.

  • on July 30, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    Was Graeme Swann born bowling like he did at the end of his career? Or did he, gradually over time, learn and improve with experience? Cant believe some people think Moeen has to do amazing things straight from the off in Test cricket and if he doesnt, he's not a good bowler etc. It takes time and patience and I for one think he's done very well so far and I hope he carries on improving to become a vital player for England. Same goes for Butler, Ballance and Woakes!

  • CodandChips on July 30, 2014, 21:03 GMT

    Just like to add that he might find life more difficult now batsmen will be more cautious against him. He may bowl more economically but may take less wickets.

  • CodandChips on July 30, 2014, 21:02 GMT

    I'll admit I had my concerns about Ali. I didn't think he'd be threatening enough. Perhaps that was greed, caused by having Graeme Swann.

    People pointed out his career first class average with the ball. However that stat doesn't take into account that players can improve and it sounds like Ali has improved with the ball. I guess we can thank Saeed Ajmal for that.

    When he came into the side I thought he'd be a guy who'd provided some tidy overs but not take too many wickets. But I've been pleasantly surprised by what I've seen.

    He's no finished article. He's no Swann. But he's a fine cricketer with potential in both disciplines. And I suppose his fielding can't be too bad if I rarely notice it.

    I agree we need to have faith in the new players. And I'd include the likes of Stokes and Woakes to the list from this article.

    This team is far from perfect but the signs are finally encouraging.

  • CodandChips on July 30, 2014, 21:02 GMT

    I'll admit I had my concerns about Ali. I didn't think he'd be threatening enough. Perhaps that was greed, caused by having Graeme Swann.

    People pointed out his career first class average with the ball. However that stat doesn't take into account that players can improve and it sounds like Ali has improved with the ball. I guess we can thank Saeed Ajmal for that.

    When he came into the side I thought he'd be a guy who'd provided some tidy overs but not take too many wickets. But I've been pleasantly surprised by what I've seen.

    He's no finished article. He's no Swann. But he's a fine cricketer with potential in both disciplines. And I suppose his fielding can't be too bad if I rarely notice it.

    I agree we need to have faith in the new players. And I'd include the likes of Stokes and Woakes to the list from this article.

    This team is far from perfect but the signs are finally encouraging.

  • CodandChips on July 30, 2014, 21:03 GMT

    Just like to add that he might find life more difficult now batsmen will be more cautious against him. He may bowl more economically but may take less wickets.

  • on July 30, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    Was Graeme Swann born bowling like he did at the end of his career? Or did he, gradually over time, learn and improve with experience? Cant believe some people think Moeen has to do amazing things straight from the off in Test cricket and if he doesnt, he's not a good bowler etc. It takes time and patience and I for one think he's done very well so far and I hope he carries on improving to become a vital player for England. Same goes for Butler, Ballance and Woakes!

  • on July 30, 2014, 21:38 GMT

    He also has great batting ability.

  • jabberwocky123 on July 30, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    Excellent article as ever; I've been impotently shouting 'he's not a part-timer' at those cricket experts who don't follow cricket Warne and Holding.

    On an unrelated note, I don't have twitter but how about this for polite enquiries (in the unlikely event you enter the world of jingoistic abuse by reading the comments on your articles):

    Is Rahul Dravid a nicer man than DJ Sammy?

  • on July 30, 2014, 22:34 GMT

    Well, its not only part time observers dismissing Moeen as a part timer...most of the t.v commentary box have as well...yet he has a grooved action and many good attributes...a real bonus for England

  • on July 30, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    I believe Ian Chappel's comments about Moeen Ali are unfair and prejudiced. Ian does not like anything in Moeen and he has done so well both with bat and ball. I do not understand Ian's predefined opinions about players.

  • Sir_Francis on July 30, 2014, 22:40 GMT

    Not "bearing" with Sam Robson then?

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 30, 2014, 22:51 GMT

    Well he's certainly better than Rohit Sharma at least, I'll give him that much. But test cricket still needs a specialist spinner (or two) to stand any chance of winning more games in virtually any conditions. What will England do when they tour subcontinent?

  • russell1967 on July 30, 2014, 22:59 GMT

    An article written by someone who ridiculed his selection. Hindsight doesn't make you a good judge, it just shows how flawed your opinion was in the first place