After the highs of the World Cup, England have found themselves 0-1 down in the ongoing Ashes series. Australia looked well prepared in the series opener at Edgbaston and won the game by a mammoth 251 runs. Steve Smith was England’s nemesis once again as he scored twin centuries to put his team ahead. The hosts needed to bat out the final day’s play to save the Test match but they crumbled to 146 to concede the series lead.
While the top-order has been a concern for England for a long time in Tests, Moeen Ali’s form is also huge worry for the team management. The all-rounder was expected to play a key role with the ball in the second innings at Edgbaston. But he couldn’t inflict any damage on a turning wicket and was rather the weak link in already struggling bowling attack which missed James Anderson.
Moeen Ali returned with the figures of 3/172 in the first Ashes Test where his counterpart Nathan Lyon picked nine wickets including a six-fer in the second innings. He is clearly down on confidence and it is clear that he isn’t an automatic pick anymore in the team. The former England player Graeme Swann also felt the same and while speaking to Betfair felt that the home team has to drop Moeen.
“Moeen is not bowling with any confidence. He didn’t pull his weight in the first Test and we’re carrying him at the moment. His confidence is shot, he shouldn’t be playing – and I’m not saying that because he bowled a couple of beamers. When you look at his batting, he is a walking wicket because he is bereft of ideas and confidence against Nathan Lyon,” Swann said.
He is not selectable right now
England surprisingly left out Jack Leach from the 13-man squad in the first Test. He was the Man of the Match in the Ireland Test and is likely to make a comeback at Lord’s at the expense of Moeen Ali. Graeme Swann also backed Leach’s inclusion and stated that he is batting better than Moeen at the moment.
“I love Moeen Ali and I want him to play every game, but he is not selectable right now. You need a spinner who is going to tie down one end and, frankly, Jack Leach’s batting will last longer than Mo’s does. This is not a case of giving him a few weeks off to go to a health spa.
“There’s a misconception that you can go away from the pressure of Test match cricket, chill out and come back a better player. Moeen has got to go away, get his confidence and form back, and prove he is the best spinner in England (by playing) for Worcestershire,” Swann further added.
The second Test between England and Australia is set to be played at Lord’s on August 14 and the visitors will be keen to double the lead.
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