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June 6, 2014
A little over a year ago Moeen Ali feared his chance for an international career was slipping away, but now he can look forward to a Test debut at Lord's next week to add to the ODI and T20 caps he has already earned.
Moeen has been included in England's 12-man squad, one of three uncapped players, for his all-around skills and is likely to be slotted in to bat at No. 6 and be the main spin option in a pace-heavy England side following the retirement of Graeme Swann.
He has a doosra among his armoury - developed under the guidance of Saeed Ajmal - but has yet to unveil it at international level. Although his career bowling average is 40.43, over the last two seasons he has taken his wickets at 32.56.
His first taste of international cricket came in West Indies during March when he made his ODI and T20 debuts then he was part of the World T20. He will enter the Test arena in good batting form having hit 162 against Surrey in the last round of Championship matches.
"I thought the previous winter that the chance might have passed me by to play for England but I put my foot down and really worked hard on my game and to score mountains of runs," he said. "This winter's experience has given me the hunger to want to play more international cricket and obviously the next step is Test cricket.
"I loved my time for England during the winter and everyone made me feel so welcome and part of the squad and, apart from the last couple of T20s when I didn't get many runs, overall I was quite pleased.
Worcestershire's director of cricket, Steve Rhodes, highlighted Moeen's work ethic as one of his qualities which stood out.
"No-one hits more balls in practice than Moeen and he thoroughly deserved his call-up during the winter with Lions and then for the full tours including the World Cup," he said. "But what a fantastic thing that is for this club, that we've now got a player in the England Test squad who loves playing at this club."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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But you can't expect a turnaround unless pitches, umpiring and practice facilities are simultaneously improved