Home > Features >

Moeen Ali – the part-timer keeps pegging India back with crucial wickets

Moeen Ali picked the key wickets of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane in the first innings of the Southampton Test © Getty Images
Moeen Ali picked the key wickets of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane in the first innings of the Southampton Test © Getty Images

The Indian batsmen wouldn’t have taken Moeen Ali too seriously and have put in all their energies in focusing on the pacemen. After all, why should they have worried about a part-time off-spinner, when they play that breed very well. Nishad Pai Vaidya writes about Moeen’s bowling performance and looks back at some of the part-time spinner’s performances against India in the recent past.

 

There was one passage of play in the afternoon session that signifies India’s struggle at Southampton. Against the spin of Moeen Ali, two talented young batsmen fell to their temptation of clearing the boundary, leaving India in a further middle. Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane had played well and fought hard to construct a stand. But, Rohit tried to smash one down the ground and offered a catch and Rahane got a bottom edge off a half-tracker.

Though Moeen is the only spinner in the side, he isn’t exactly a frontline bowler. He is a part-timer, who gives it everything in his bowling. There are those lose deliveries, which are often put away — the odd one produces a wicket like that of Rahane. But, a part-timer often invokes those temptations. Batsmen, believe that they can take a few more liberties with them and perhaps milk a few runs to break the shackles. It does work quite a few times, but it can also go horribly wrong.

When it comes to Indian batsmen, part-time spinners are their targets. Having been born and bred on surfaces that aid turn, the Indian batsmen can read the turn on the toughest of surfaces. On unhelpful pitches, it is a cakewalk to pick them. That is perhaps what Rohit may have thought. He had already stepped out and lofted Moeen for a four once and then rocked back to pull one over mid-wicket. At times, there were a sign in his trigger movements; he was waiting for that chance to step out and smash another down the ground.

But, when such shots don’t come off it looks ugly. Particularly, when it has to do with a player like Rohit, who has that typical lazy elegance, it looks as if he has thrown it away. Even Rahane’s dismissal looked like that as he tried an aggressive shot, off a ball that was meant to be hit, instead he got the edge. Alastair Cook’s gamble of persisting with Moeen paid off.

Captains have to be smart using the part-timers. In one-day cricket, they are often brought in to get a couple of wickets, tempting the batsmen to take chances. When it comes to Test cricket, similar tactics may apply when the opposition fancies a certain style. Indian’s love facing spin; so why not invite them out of their shell by giving them a cake?

In the last decade, Michael Clarke has been an effective part-timer against India, having picked 14 wickets. He has mainly two spells of note. On a minefield at Mumbai in 2004, he recorded astonishing figures of six for nine. When Nathan Hauritz was being played with relative ease, Ricky Ponting unleashed his trump-card. Then he bowled that superb spell at Sydney in 2008, where he mainly snared tailenders.

One can name numerous occasions when part-time spinners have bowled against India and taken crucial wickets in the new millennium. Sachin Tendulkar was bowled by a beauty from Michael Vaughan when he was in the 90s at Nottingham in 2002. Imran Farhat bowled Rahul Dravid on 270 in 2004 when the batsman tried to reverse sweep. Simon Katich had Virender Sehwag caught in the deep when he tried to clear the ground on 195 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2003. Marlon Samuels gave India numerous problems as they tried to chase down a target on the final day at Mumbai in 2011. And finally, Narsingh Deonarine ended Tendulkar’s Test career with his innocuous off-spin last year. One can go on.

Such things happen from time to time. But, when a unit keeps making errors against a part-timer, it doesn’t speak to well about them. Moeen is now the most successful part-time spinner against India since 2002 (India’s last tour to England). Though Clarke has five more wickets than him, Moeen has taken his nine in only three games compared to Clarke’s 21.

Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 23, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 25, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 26, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Perth Scorchers won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014  at Raipur

NK won by 33 runs (D/L method)

Photos

KXIP vs Hobart Hurricanes, Match 2 CLT20 2014

Videos

Kane, Devcich praise each others knock

Live Cricket Score Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Lahore Lions CLT20 2014: KKR labour to 4 wicket win

CLT20 2014: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Lahore Lions (LL), Match 7: 5 key battles

Before Mitchell Marsh, Surinder Amarnath had hit sixes off last two balls to win a match in England

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014: Highlights

CLT20 2014: Mitchell Marsh stakes his claim for a spot in Australia’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad with late blitz for Perth Scorchers against Dolphins

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Cape Cobras Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Dolphins Hobart Hurricanes Incheon Asian Games India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab Lahore Lions

Bigg Boss 8: Ajit Chandila not to be a contestant of the show

CLT20 match between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Lahore Lions (LL) almost like India-Pakistan clash

CLT20 2014: Mohammed Hafeez blames fielders after losing

CLT20 2014: Gautam Gambhir backs fielders after victory against Pakistan side Lahore Lions

CLT20 2014: Shah Rukh Khan thrilled after Kolkata Knight Riders’s win against Pakistan side Lahore Lions

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: Dolphins’ likely XI

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Kuldeep Yadav’s dramatic debut for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) shows he is one for the future

Cape Cobras v Hobart Hurricanes CLT20 2014 — Highlights

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Lahore Lions highlights, CLT20 2014, Match 6

Steven Smith: I would love to bat at No 3 in ODI cricket

Fan of the Day

Cyrus Irani

Cyrus Irani

770 Posts | 24 Fans

Italy 0 Costa Rica 1 Full Match Highlights and Goals Video: FIFA World Cup 2014 Match 24

Bang Bang Dare: Hrithik Roshan challenges Priyanka Chopra to do handstand push-ups

Revealed: The real reason why Upen Patel agreed to do Bigg Boss 8

Kind people appear to be more attractive

Customized tablets make way to India for Rs 5,000 onwards

Round 2 in Android One war: New phones may hit market by December-end

Revealed: Puneet Issar, RJ Preetam, Deepshikha Nagpal are the members of Bigg Boss 8′s Secret Society!

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Perth Scorchers (PRS) Preview: Group A Match 8 of Champions League T20 2014 (CLT20)

Asian Games 2014 Live Updates: Shooter Ayonika Paul qualifies for 10m Air Rifle Women’s finals

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here