England’s one day side has been struggling for some time – but one of the highlights in the current Sri Lanka tour has been Moeen Ali. Ali has also excelled in the test arena – and thankfully England the 27 year old has taken his test form to the one day arena.
When captain Alistair Cook inherited the captaincy from predecessor Andrew Strauss, the 29 year old Cook had initially enjoyed success in the role. England even enjoyed a brief stint at the top of the one day international rankings – but since those highs England have only suffered lows. Kevin Pieterson making claim after claim in his book about team morale and to actually find a KP replacement have been some factors which have seen seen England struggle in recent months.
The most underlining problem for England though however has been their opening partnership, for the best part of a year England have struggled to find the right combination- until now. Several players have been tried in the opening position to accompany Alistair Cook – Kevin Pieterson and Ian Bell who are more middle order batsmen were placed as openers -such was the difficulty England were facing in the opening batsmen department.
Opening batsmen Alex Hales has been included to try and solve this issue – but one thing which might have dissuaded the England’s selectors to select Hales in the long term is the 25 year old’s tendencies to have a bit of ill discipline.
When the one day international squad was announced however it was a surprise to see Alex Hales dropped for Moeen Ali who is also middle order batsmen by trade. Much to the surprise of many myself included- but Ali has been nothing sort of sensational.
The Worcestershire all-rounder is the leading run scorer for England in this five match series, Ali has scored a century and a very entertaining half-century already in this five match series – so it’s no surprise that Moeen Ali has the most runs.
It’s the 27 year old’s aggressive approach makes him suited the role. For so many months the outcry from many has been for England to be more aggressive, with Moeen Ali at the top of the order they can now do that. The maturity that Moeen Ali plays with is very admirable and I feel it’s what makes him a very good opener at one day international level. Where as Alex Hales tries to play to many agressive shots at times Ali however has managed to balance attacking instinct with sensisble batting.
Although it’s to early judge Moeen fairly as he has not played a world cup yet, the early signs look very promising. England look like they just might have found the right player to partner Alistair Cook at the top of the order,with a player many didn’t expect.
Where many players have failed over the years Moeen Ali has so far exceeded, some senior players could do with taking a leaf out of the Worcestershire all-rounders book.