As soon as Moeen Ali has been declared as Vice-Captain of the England team, he has started playing little MIND-GAMES with the Indian team. Ali in his 1st Press interaction as Vice-Captain of England declared if India do stick to the one specialist spinner strategy, his pick will be the “amazing” Ravindra Jadeja.
“I would always have Jadeja in my team and I think India after winning at Lord’s would have gone with four seamers (at Headingley) and Jadeja did a great job. He is batting really well. I am sure Ashwin has been considered and will be considered for tomorrow.”
Moeen’s comments came as the Indian think-tank is likely to pick Ashwin over Jadeja in the Indian Playing XI for the Oval Test. According to Moeen, Jadeja is his favourite cricketer and he will always prefer him in the XI.
“Yeah, a little bit (surprised over Ashwin not playing) but I also feel Jadeja is an amazing cricketer, he is one of my favourite characters in the world,” Moeen said ahead of the fourth Test beginning here on Thursday.
Moeen, who has been named England vice-captain in the absence of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, expects the pitch to turn a bit later in the game. The all-rounder has taken a hat-trick at The Oval, having done so against South Africa in 2017.
“Most grounds in England tend to spin a little bit anyway, some obviously more than others, but there’s always a bit of spin.
“I am not expecting a hat trick (again) but expecting little bit of spin towards the end. It does look a bit more green than what you normally see here. It’s always a good wicket for batting and bowling and towards the end of the game the spinners (get into the game),” he said.
The Lord’s Test against India earlier this month was Moeen’s first at home in two years. He has been in and out of the team but England making him vice-captain even for one game shows that he is now part of the leadership group.
Moeen, however, doesn’t think he has cemented his place in the side yet though he called his appointment a huge honour.
“Yeah sounds amazing, to captain or vice-captain England in any form is huge, and I’m just very excited. I’m obviously not hoping for Joe (Root) to go off the field but if he does go off I’m looking forward to the role.”
On not being settled in the Test team and now getting to play regularly, he said: “I think that’s the beauty of sport in one way, but also I know that obviously Ben and Jos are not here. I am pretty realistic in terms of that. But yeah, things can change quickly and to be given the role I think is great.”
He hopes to inspire more people from the British Asian community to play the game.
“Whenever you are playing for England you are representing your people. For me, for example, I feel like I’m representing them and to be given the chance, I feel maybe they’ll be also be thinking about cricket, you know chances are good, if you do the right things and you’re showing the right attitude towards the game.”
Moeen also expressed the desire to travel for the Ashes Down Under if the big series does go ahead in COVID-19 times later this year.
“I want to cement my spot in the team having couple of games under my belt I feel I have found the rhythm of the game.
“Looking forward to the next two games against India to put in some performances to keep my spot in the the team and then Australia.
“A lot more information is needed for players and families to think about going ahead. If the tour takes place I am quite to keen to go and cement my place,” he said.
Moeen feels England were able to win at Headingley and level the series because the players remained focussed on the job and didn’t engage in too many verbal battles with opposition like it was seen at Lord’s.
“Expecting India to come up with the intensity they have shown thus far. We had a great first day at Headingley and for the rest of the match we played really well. Just think were were really focused last game and concentrated on our own performances.
“The one thing we are really good at as a team, I think, is coming back from behind. Now going forward is really about putting in the performance than can take us ahead. We’re quite confident and in particular against India having done so in 2014, I think,” he added.