Home > News >

Moeen Ali seeks to break cultural barriers in England

Moeen Ali has bamboozled the famed spin experts, India through top class displays in the ongoing Test series © Getty Images
Moeen Ali (Right) has bamboozled the famed spin experts, India through top class displays in the ongoing Test series © Getty Images

By Julian Guyer

London: Aug 13, 2014 

Moeen Ali admitted he had endured a steep learning curve in his brief England career. Ali, in his first season as an international cricketer, has been a key figure in the series with India. Heading into the fifth and final Test at The Oval, starting on Friday, Ali has been pivotal in England wins at Southampton and Manchester that have transformed a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead.

However, the practising Muslim also courted controversy by wearing ‘Save Gaza’ and ‘Free Palestine’ wristbands in last month’s win over India at Southampton. The International Cricket Council (ICC) ordered Ali to remove the wristbands, saying they breached their regulations about players making “political” statements.

“I didn’t think it would be such a big deal,” said the 27-year-old, whose distinctive long beard is a visible sign of his religious belief.

“I just totally forgot I had them on when I went into bat,” he said as he spoke publicly about the incident for the first time. “Obviously it all came out, but it didn’t bother me one bit.”

However, he admitted: “I have to be a lot more careful. ICC didn’t allow me to wear them and I accepted that. I have a lot of opinions on a lot of stuff, but it’s not the time and place now to go into it.

“I wasn’t trying to be political — it was just a humanitarian thing.

“I’ve got a lot of positive reaction and I’d really like to say thanks to the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) for supporting me about it.”

Ali said he was conscious of his position as a high-profile British Muslim and was keen to demonstrate to members of his community that they too could represent England.

“That’s the kind of barrier I want to try and break down — that people think it is tough and will treat you badly if you’re a practising Muslim.

“That is the reason I like to play cricket for England — because I can break down barriers for other people and inspire kids, not just Asian kids but all kids, to play.

“Previously a lot of them wanted to play for India and Pakistan, but now I get a lot more Asians coming up to me saying they’re supporting England.”

Turning to his bowling, Ali said advice from England team-mate Ian Bell, a renowned player of spin bowling, and Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena that had proved pivotal in his rapid development.

“After the first Test at Trent Bridge, where I went for quite a few runs, I sat down and analysed it and felt the need for change.”

“Belly took me to one side and said ‘Look, this is what you’ve got to do to be consistent in the Test side — this is what Swanny (Graeme Swann) did, bowl quicker and straighter, especially on a first-day pitch.

“Then I went into the nets and the umpire Kumar Dharmasena was there, and I asked him ‘as a former off-spinner, how can I bowl quicker without it being flat?’

“He said to me ‘just grab your pocket as quickly as you can with your non-bowling arm’,” Ali explained.

“As soon as I bowled one ball I knew it would work,” he added. “That, for some reason, allows me to bowl quicker and straighter without being flat.”

Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone, semi-final at Mohali Day 4: Naman Ojha out for 40

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 4: 3rd Test fifty for Ahmed Shehzad

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 1 at Mirpur: Zimbabwe lose Sibanda in first over

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

MS Dhoni buys Hockey India League franchise, Ranchi Rays

Haroon Lorgat expects WICB to sort out issue before South Africa tour

Yasir Shah delighted by Shane Warne’s tweet

Zimbabwe reach 77/2 at lunch against Bangladesh on Day 1 of 1st Test

VVS Laxman: Would love to watch ISL match during my stay in Kolkata

Strangers, Brothers and Cricket— the English novelist CP Snow’s lasting passion for the game

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here