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Moeen wants permanent role for Saqlain

Moeen Ali has implored the ECB to employ Saqlain Mushtaq on a permanent basis after his record-breaking series against South Africa.

Moeen credited Saqlain for his advice after claiming 25 wickets in the four-match series. But with the former Pakistan spinner employed only on a consultancy basis - meaning he is not with the England squad all the time - Moeen is concerned he may not be able to call on his wisdom throughout an Ashes series that could prove challenging.

"I'd love to have him for all games - T20s, one-dayers and Test matches," Moeen said. "If you are going to have batting, fielding and fast-bowling coaches, it would be nice to have a spin-bowling coach for pretty much all the games.

"If I do get on that plane for the Ashes, hopefully I'll have Saqi sitting next to me. I'd like him to be there. He can help me out."

While much of Saqlain's role appears to be on the lines of offering reassurance, Moeen revealed the pair were working on a few variations - including a top-spinner that has yet to be used in a match - and that he had contributed more directly to the key wicket of Hashim Amla on the final day of the series.

Amla had been batting with great assurance in adding 123 for the third wicket with Faf du Plessis when Moeen ran from the field for a quick toilet break. While in the dressing room, Saqlain suggested a field change that Moeen feels lured Amla into playing back, rather than forward as he had been, and missing a sharply turning offbreak.

"He gave me the option of putting a silly point in," Moeen said. "Maybe it put something in the batter's mind in terms of playing forward. I bowled a bit shorter, he went back. I think that made the difference.

"There is always something new with Saqi. The basics are the same, but he has found a few variations in my bowling which I am working on. He is brilliant with my mindset."

Moeen had admitted previously that working with coaches for short-term spells can cause confusion - he went through a period of bowling head-high full tosses after Saqlain suggested he change his grip - but feels that the pair have built a strong bond that he feels could help him cope with the challenges anticipated in Australia.

As things stand, Saqlain is scheduled to work with the England side during the West Indies series with Moeen hinting that a more permanent role could be agreed soon.

"That's not too far from the future," he said. "I know we had him in India, but it's taken a bit of time for me to understand him and him to understand me. He has been amazing for me in terms of helping with my fields, helping me understand my bowling a lot more than I had done previously and I think that has been the biggest difference.

"Before, I just bowled. I didn't really think too much. I let the captain set the field. Saqlain has helped me understand my action, field settings and the type of batsmen. Things like that can make a big difference."

For all his success with the ball, though, Moeen still feels his batting is his stronger discipline.

"I still believe I am a batsman," he said. "I feel like it is the strong point of my game and when the opportunity comes to bat up the order, hopefully I can do that. In India, I was batting four and five, which was nice, here I started seven and went down to eight. But I think the team needed that in this series.

"Our six, seven and eight is strong and we want to keep that. It's great when we bat together. We all score so quick and freely and it's very entertaining. We enjoy that.

"No matter how many wickets I get, I'm definitely always going to be a batter."