Moeen Ali thanks a last-minute tutorial with coach Paul Farbrace for helping him get back on track as a one-day international batsman against South Africa.
Before his unbeaten 77 at Headingley on Wednesday, as England served fresh notice of their Champions Trophy credentials in a 72-run win to go 1-0 up with two to play against AB de Villiers’ men, Moeen had mustered just a solitary half-century in his last 28 ODI innings since his career-best 128 at the 2015 World Cup.
By his own admission, the all-rounder has often found it difficult to reattune himself to varying demands as he has moved up and down the order – and although he made a success of number seven this time, it appears to be far from his favourite position.
Moeen Ali scored a total of 77 at Headingley on Wednesday in the ODI against South Africa
Moeen hit five sixes, and as many fours, in his 51-ball innings as he and captain Eoin Morgan shared a crucial century stand after a mid-innings stumble to 198 for five.
He demonstrated power as well as his trademark touch and timing – but Moeen is still not an advocate of focusing specifically on big-hitting techniques.
‘I find if I work on it I lose my rhythm,’ he said, adding that on the eve of the Royal London Series he instead benefited most from a quick chat with England assistant coach Farbrace.
England assistant Paul Farbrace had a last-minute conversation with Ali before the match
‘I actually wasn’t batting that well in the nets. I went inside with Paul Farbrace, and he knows my game quite well now.
‘I had a chat with him, and he helped – and I felt in a good rhythm going into this match.’
Moeen took a particular liking to South Africa wrist-spinner Imran Tahir, as he began a six-hitting spree which concluded with a pick-up off his legs from seamer Chris Morris’ final ball of the innings.
‘I had a hack really with the first two – and then the last one, I was pretty pleased with …’ he said of his success against Tahir.
‘(But) even towards the end of my innings there were a couple I tried to slog, and I lost my shape.
‘Then the last ball I tried to keep my shape as much as I could.
Ali has admitted previously that he has struggled when moving up the batting order
‘It’s more an instinctive way of batting, and Farby helped me a lot.’
Moeen has struggled to find a consistent platform in England’s ODI team for his wonderfully attractive batting, and was left out for the two early-season victories over Ireland which preceded this series.
‘I find batting seven tough,’ he added. ‘But I’m trying to be good at it and get better at it.
‘On previous occasions, when I’ve had the opportunity to play a lot more balls, I’ve given my wicket away a bit early.
‘(But) I told myself I was going to give myself a bit more time, give Morgy as much of the strike as I could.’
Moeen grew up opening, still perhaps his most natural deployment but one which is not possible for England at present.
‘I can beat the field in the first few overs [at the top of the order], and then later on I can play a few more shots,’ he said.
‘But when you’ve got four or five guys out [in the deep] straightaway it’s not easy for someone who probably can’t hit sixes like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and hit the gas like those guys.
‘But … I managed to hit a few.’
All-rounder Stokes’ return at Headingley, following his high-profile spell at the Indian Premier League, restored a balance to the team which works in Moeen’s favour.
As England wait to hear whether Stokes will be fit for the second match, in Southampton on Saturday, Moeen could be forgiven for a personal interest in how his team-mate recovers from a sore knee which restricted him to just two overs.
It is understood he will have a scan on the area and an update is expected on Friday.
Whoever is chosen, though, Moeen believes it will be an England team capable of sustaining their winning form through the Champions Trophy next month – but who must be wary of South Africa’s capabilities too.
‘We’ve got the team that is capable of [winning our next seven matches],’ he said.
‘We’re only 1-0 up with two games to go, but it’s a great start to the summer.
‘We were 2-0 up against them in South Africa [in 2015/16] and we lost 3-2. They’re a very good side, and we know that.’
via Cricket Articles | Mail Online
May 25, 2017 at 04:32PM