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Moeen agrees five-year deal to remain at Worcestershire

Moeen Ali thrashed a 53-ball hundred AFP

Worcestershire have pulled off a significant coup by securing Moeen Ali on a new five-year deal.

Moeen was of interest to several other counties - notably Warwickshire - but Worcestershire's long-term loyalty to him, the promise of their young players and their presence back in Division One of the County Championship have convinced him to stay.

While Worcestershire supporters may see little of Moeen over the next couple of years - not only is he established in the England sides in all three formats but he is expected to enter the next IPL auction - the decision to sign such a long-term deal suggests he is happy to spend the rest of his career at the club.

And, even though transfers between counties are increasingly prevalent in county cricket, such a long-term deal will deter other clubs and ensure Worcestershire are well compensated.

"We've had some fantastic wins this season and this is one of them," Steve Rhodes, Worcestershire's director of cricket, said.

"Moeen is our England player and it's important for us to have an England player. It's also important for our dressing room, our players, our staff and our members and supporters and everyone involved at the club.

"It sends a message to other clubs that our better players don't feel the need to be elsewhere. They want to be on this journey to success and in Moeen's case, he has stayed loyal to the club in signing this longer deal.

"He is in such a rich vein of form internationally and on the back of a wonderful season, he is turning himself into one of the best allrounders in the world in international cricket. For us to sign someone of that ilk for five years is a real credit to all we do at Worcestershire. Whenever he comes back, it gives a big lift to the place."

Moeen is the 12th Worcestershire player to sign a new deal this year. So, while the club were disappointed to lose Tom Kohler-Cadmore to Yorkshire, they are delighted to have retained the services of such highly rated young players as fast bowler Josh Tongue (who signed a new four-year deal and won a place on the England Lions tour), Ben Cox and allrounder Ed Barnard.

Worcestershire will hope Moeen's commitment might also play a part in persuading Joe Clarke to stay. Clarke, another man who won selection to the Lions squad, is out of contract at the end of 2018 and, with his wicketkeeping opportunities blocked by the excellence of Cox, might be persuaded to try his luck elsewhere. As one of the most promising batsmen in the county game, he is unlikely to have any shortage of options. Worcestershire are understandably keen for him to stay and will hope Moeen's example - proving England selection can be won while playing for the club - may play a part.

"Moeen is such a loyal guy," Rhodes continued. "He knows we were the vehicle that gave him the opportunities to impress people and get selected for England in the first place.

"In his previous contract, the way we sold it to him was that you are batting three in the Championship, you are opening in the one-dayers and you are our number one offspinner and our vice-captain, you are doing everything.

"Now it will be down to you putting in the performances. We will give you the opportunities to do that and because we did that, and he took those opportunities, he got selected by England, I think he feels loyal to Worcestershire."

Moeen said: "To commit my future and probably the rest of my career to Worcestershire is a fantastic feeling. It's happy days.

"I've been part of this club now for a very long time. We have some brilliant young players, probably the best young English players in the country.

"It is a fantastic club and they have always been good to me and supported me and I'm delighted to sign. We are in Division One now and I don't think we are far off now in all competitions and the young players are gaining more and more experience.

"Steve Rhodes is a massive reason for me signing. He has always been good to me, he has always supported me and looked after me and even when I am away with England he is always sending me messages."