HomeAnalysisMoeen Ali: The Magician Test Spinner Born To Hurt...

Moeen Ali: The Magician Test Spinner Born To Hurt India

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If one player that has ruled against India with spin bowling in recent times, it has to be Moeen Ali. Twice in England, he has achieved the unthinkable. If 2014 was a magical year that saw him spin a web around India, the recently concluded Southampton Test was a continuation of his brilliance.
England all-rounder Ali looks strong and determined post a dismal winter run that forced the management to leave him out of the Test squad. Moeen finally got his chance and he grabbed it with both hands. Nine wickets in a Test match against a side known to be solid against spin is no small task.

He helped England win the Test that enabled Joe Root’s men to seal the series 3-1. Ali may not be done here just yet. He could be lethal in the upcoming Oval Test match, as England will be hoping to pile on the misery for India.
Ali, who has been a regular in the shorter formats, missed out on Test action for quite some time, before making a comeback in the fourth Test. And he, once again, showed his authority over Men in Blue. The manner in which Indian batting crumbled against him showed they didn’t learn a single bit from the ghastly 2014 series.
Moeen has already picked 28 wickets against India at home in no time. He loves the conditions on offer and although not a strong turner of the ball, his gentle deliveries pitched on the right areas is a valuable asset. Here we look at Moeen and his comeback to haunt India with memories of 2014.

Moeen, the stability factor for England

India England Series
Apart from bowling, Moeen Ali had a vital Partnership with young Sam Curran to help England recover and win (Image: Portsmouth News)

The 31-year-old was absent from the team this summer but came back to the side and offered solidity at number 7. At Southampton, the home team were reeling at 86/6 and were in for a low first innings total. But in came Ali, who shared an 81-run stand with Sam Curran to defy India. His knock of 40 eased the England ship.
Moeen is no stranger at Southampton and knows the conditions better than everybody. Four years ago, he took eight wickets on this ground against the same opponents and now he returned with nine. 17 wickets in two Tests at the same venue shows his mettle as a bowler.
In County cricket, Ali raked in the performances for Worcestershire and stood out against Yorkshire. His double ton and 8 wickets showed he is a consistent breed.

India succumb once again against Moeen

Ali was the stand-out performer for England in the 2014 Test series against India at home. The hosts had won the 5-match series 3-1 and it was Ali’s 19 wickets that orchestrated the English victory. It was at Southampton where he had picked 8 wickets back then with a magical spell of 6/67 helping England overcome Indian batsmen.
This time the manner in which he came out and made Indian batsmen come out and make mistakes was a brilliant sight. flashes of 2014 came back to the mind instantly when he looked to pick wickets like in every second ball he bowled.
For India, coming short against Ali once again in 4 years highlights a mental blockage. Will Moeen once again come out strong and pounce on India at the Oval? There is every possibility he will do so.

4 years later, Moeen rolls back time

Moeen Ali was the star with the ball as he picked 9 important wickets (Image: Belfast Telegraph)

It didn’t take Ali time to get his magic going at Southampton. This time he wiped out the lower half of the Indian XI with finesse and style in the first innings, before once again coming to the fore in the 2nd innings, The memories of 2014 came back to haunt Kohli-led India.
In the 1st innings the moment Ajinkya Rahane departed with the score reading 161/4, Moeen came in and picked 5 wickets. India was soon struggling at 195/8. That’s where the Test was won by the hosts. Moeen looks confident bowling at home and could be a crucial asset in coming as a second choice spin bowling option.
Every time one watches Moeen bowl in this format in England, he delivers more than often. Credit to Root for handling him well and going for the attack straightaway.

‘It was a bad winter but I shrugged it off’

After a poor run of form, Moeen Ali was dropped from the squad (Image: Cricviz)

Ali stated that although he had a dismal winter, he knew that he wasn’t a bad player. As per a report in the ICC, Ali said, “It is about believing you are not a bad player after one bad winter. Yes, it was a bad winter but I shrugged it off.”
The issue for Moeen was he failed in the Ashes and was dropped from there on. He made a crucial point though. “You have to put things into perspective. Australia is always a difficult place for foreign spinners, no matter who they are.”
Yes, Moeen may be right in many senses here. Look what he has done for his side at home. Moreover, the mentality is a reason and the 2014 heroics ran back of his mind in shaping up this show here. His pace and trajectory for English conditions is spot on
Moreover, Moeen Ali provides England a crucial batting option for the hosts.
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