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Moeen Ali: Indian batsman felt I was an easy target

Moeen Ali preparing to bowl during a nets session © Getty Images
Moeen Ali preparing to bowl during a nets session © Getty Images

London: Aug 14, 2014

He has been one of England’s finds in the ongoing Test series against India and off-spinner Moeen Ali feels that visiting team’s batsmen took him lightly which ensured a bagful of wickets for him.

Moeen currently has 19 wickets at a stellar average of 22.94 with two brilliant spells at the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford as England have gone 2-1 up in the series.

“They (Indian batsmen) felt I was an easy target, a guy they could get easy runs from, which has helped me quite a bit,” 27-year-old Moeen was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.

“If they attack me, now I’m bowling well, I’ve got a chance. But they’re very good players of spin. I don’t know how I’m getting these wickets but I’m happy to! I feel like I’m on top and I feel I can get players out,” an ecstatic Moeen said.

The bearded all-rounder said that even though he would like to have a lethal weapon like doosra in his armoury, he is happy with what he has at the moment.

“Yeah, I don’t need it at the moment. The way I’m bowling at the moment, attacking both sides of the bat because some of them are going straight on, means I don’t really need it. I’d still like to have it in my repertoire but it needs a lot more work,” he said.

“I don’t want to get carried away. But I do feel that I’ve taken a big step towards being a decent Test spinner. I feel like I have more control, and that my captain and team-mates can trust me,” he did a critical assessment of his performance so far.

Interestingly, it is ICC’s Elite Panel umpire and former Sri Lankan offie Kumar Dharmasena, whose tips have helped him greatly while troubling the Indian batsmen.

Dharmasena advised Moeen to grab his left pocket with his non-bowling hand as he came through his action to help him get through the delivery at the optimum speed. The suggestion did pay dividends.

“As soon as I bowled one ball I knew it would work,” he said. “That, for some reason, allows me to bowl quicker and straighter without being flat. I knew that was how I needed to bowl from then on.

“It’s completely different from county cricket. I bowled there in the eye line, as people say, and I didn’t have consistency. As soon as I bowled that way for England I got hammered, especially by India and Sri Lanka because they use their feet so well.

“Even slightly good balls disappear. They’re so good at it. So I had to bowl quicker and straighter and to my field a bit more. So far it’s been all right, since Lord’s,” Moeen explained.

Moeen has come a long way from the streets of Birmingham, the kid who bowled seam-up and the allrounder who had to move counties to find a permanent home. But you sense there is still much more to come in the Moeen Ali story.

Speaking about his difficulties against short stuff, the Warwickshire player said,”When you get out a couple of times the same way you think about it a lot. I’ve probably been thinking about it too much – whether I should take it on or not. It’s something I don’t really take on early in my innings but at Southampton I wanted to prove I could play it.

“I don’t feel like I’ve got a problem with it but thinking about it too much has probably been my downfall. Analysing the last game to now, I’m just going to go back to my basics and my own game. Hopefully, I can get through that initial phase and leave it alone even if I take a couple of blows. That’s what I normally do but I’ve probably been guilty of over thinking it. That’s been my downfall.”

Catch all the coverage of India’s tour to England here

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