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Moeen's belief in his bowling

ESPNcricinfo staff

May 12, 2014

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#politeenquiries: The legend of Moeen Ali's beard

Moeen Ali is widely tipped to be England's main spinner in their first post-Ashes Test when they face Sri Lanka next month and having the extra expectation on his bowling is not something that fazes him.

Moeen's overall first-class bowling average is 40.35 but over the last two seasons for Worcestershire he has taken 64 wickets at 32.56 and also claimed seven at 18 on the Lions tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year. His all-round skills have already propelling him into the one-day and Twenty20 set-up and Moeen is now confident enough in his bowling to see it as an equal part of his game.

"I think now I see myself as an allrounder," he told ESPNcricinfo's #politeenquiries show where he answered readers questions. "I got picked by England for my batting but I think got picked over guys who have done more than me in the last couple of years because of my bowling. The more years go on the better I'm getting with my bowling."

He puts his improvement down to the responsibility he has been given at Worcestershire where he is often the frontline spinner - although this season has been able to operate alongside his close friend Saeed Ajmal - which has allowed him to develop his art that includes the doosra even if that delivery has yet to be seen at international level.

"I've probably bowled a lot more than most offspinners in county cricket over the last two or three years. I bowl in all forms which is nice," Moeen said.

He continues to relish is work alongside Ajmal who is happy to pass on his knowledge of the doosra, but Moeen knows that understanding the mechanics behind it is different to making it a success on the pitch.

"That's one of my best moments," he said of his time with Ajmal. "He says he hasn't shown many people [the doorsa], but says it's not the showing that's the hard part but the work you have to do."

And Moeen is not just trying to make a successful career for himself, but also act as inspiration for other Asian cricketers in the UK to reach the professional level. It is a responsibility he is happy to embrace and hopes that more players will come through the system after seeing him wear an England shirt.

"Being an Asian cricketer myself, watching me play for England, I think inspires Asian players to want to play," he said. "I don't see it as a burden, I see it as a positive attitude. I feel it's my duty to do it, to represent Asians."

Despite not playing against Scotland in Aberdeen, Moeen is expected to be named in England's T20 and ODI squads which will be announced on Tuesday morning for the matches against Sri Lanka.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by RandyOZ on (May 13, 2014, 22:09 GMT)

Dire situation if this guy can make the England squad...

Posted by glynowens on (May 13, 2014, 18:19 GMT)

It would be good to see Moeen given a chance this summer in the Test team. He averaged 60 last season for Worcs, ok a 2nd division side, but obviously there is talent there. With the addition of his improving off spin, which as everyone knows at the moment is an area England are lacking, he could be a very useful member of the side. I do think he should be in the first test v Sri Lanka. One last point he was born in England....unlike a couple of guys being touted for places in the top 6. Nothing against the talented young guys 'qualified' to play for England, but I think we should be looking at home born players before we look elsewhere. It would be good to see an interview with say James Vince. Another one maybe on the England horizon.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (May 13, 2014, 11:59 GMT)

So isn't it rather strange that Mushtaq Ahmed got the sack!? I'm not saying he's the only spin-bowling coach in the world, but he [Ahmed] of all people could have been great with the likes of Ali if England are seriously considering relying on part-timers for the spin quotas.

Personally I too feel Ali was hopelessly under-bowled in the previous short-format games/tournaments, where he seemed very economical if nothing else. But in tests...? By all means fill in a few overs, but expecting a guy who 'averages over 40 per wicket and leaks (at least) one four/six ball per over' to perform primary spinner role is worrying... Especially against teams which play spin very well...

Posted by Nutcutlet on (May 13, 2014, 8:28 GMT)

Temperamentally, I'm sure that Moheen will not be fazed by Test cricket. He is a mature batsman, pleasing on the eye and with a sound technique who knows his game and a spin/slow bowler who's improving year on year. His knowing that the England team is in a state of flux will, should he be selected for the 1st Test, help to him focus on being patient and allowing the runs to come. There is a perception about these days that 2nd Division players shouldn't be considered for the Test team. I dsagree - and confidently nominate Moheen Ali to make the case for quality being found in the 'minor' league! (It will be very interesting to see how much bowling he's given by Cook: let's hope its more than a token over before lunch, etc.)

Posted by Westcountryman on (May 12, 2014, 23:44 GMT)

I very much hope England pick him for the Tests this Summer. His batting has real class, he's not at all a bad bowler, and he can't be faulted for attitude, personality or commitment. I've seen him play for Worcester a good few times in recent years, and have always been impressed. Now, though, he seems to me ready for the big step up in class.

Posted by   on (May 12, 2014, 22:31 GMT)

Kerrigan? As our old coach used to say to the club spinners "Ballunt spin if ballunt bownce" Last Summer the camera panned to the crowd as he bowled and people were pretending not to look in true Fawlty Towers or "The Office" sort of wincing embarrassment. Basil Fawlty and David Brent were at least funny. Watching Kerrigan bowl wasn't. For his own sake don't get him back yet. 40 years of watching cricket and I've only ever seen one bowler bowl that badly before, the infamous Scott Boswell over. I felt bad for Scott, I feel bad for Kerrigan but getting him back now? I don't think that's a good idea. Give him a few years to mature/settle or whatever.

Posted by yorkshire-86 on (May 12, 2014, 22:25 GMT)

Nowhere near good enough to play at the top level. Panesar should be our number one spinner.

Posted by   on (May 12, 2014, 19:59 GMT)

I would prefer him in longer format. He can be turn into good batting all rounder. Bata at top order and if gives you few wickets what else anyone asks for.

Posted by   on (May 12, 2014, 17:53 GMT)

All I know is he is potentially England's Hashim Amla. :)

Posted by CodandChips on (May 12, 2014, 17:31 GMT)

He was pretty poor in his previous England appearances, though I think he should have been bowled more. Does England's reluctance to bowl him suggest they don't rate him as a bowler? Was it an Ashley Giles or Stuart Broad thing?

I would still prefer Kerrigan if we want a true frontline spinner. Kerrigan has started the season pretty well. He is the leading English spinner in division 1 in terms of wickets and his economy suggests control. He'd also be reuniting with his county coach.

Adam Riley is the leading spinner in terms of first class wickets this season, but as I'm sure @Salazaar will be more than happy to point out, he plays in division 2. I'd certainly keep an eye on him for the future.

If Moeen plays, I wouldn't want Stokes to play. Having just 3 frontline seamers would be too much of a risk, especially if one is a weary James Anderson, and another the innoccous Tim Bresnan.

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