Moeen Ali Hails Saqlain Mushtaq After Starring Against South Africa
England all-rounder Moeen Ali has lavished praise on Saqlain Mushtaq for his contribution and helping him ‘understand his bowling’. The 30-year old starred with both bat and ball in the recently-concluded series against South Africa and finished the four-match series with career-best rankings as a batsman, bowler and all-rounder.
In conditions that suited seam bowling and with the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the team, Moeen outperformed everyone and ended the series as the leading wicket-taker, picking up 25 wickets at an impressive average of 15. The highlights of his superlative performances in the series were his 10-wicket haul in the series-opener at Lord’s, the hat-trick at the Oval and then the five-wicket haul in the final innings at Old Trafford that helped England to register their first home series win against South Africa since 1998.
The performance has been totally different than the one he gave in India in the last Test series. Even in friendly conditions, he managed to pick up only 10 wickets in 5 Tests and has credited spin coach Mushtaq for the remarkable turnaround.
“Saqi [Saqlain] has been amazing for me in terms of helping with my fields and helping me understanding my bowling a lot more than I had done previously. That has been the biggest difference,” he said after starring in England’s 177-run win at Old Trafford.
“I feel a lot more confidence in my ability and I felt it was building. I had been batting well over the last year and the bowling was coming along.
“I understand my action better, the field settings, the type of batsmen I am facing. These are little things that can make a big difference. Earlier in my career, I didn’t really think too much. I just bowled and let the captain set the field. In this series, I set my own fields a lot more,” he added.
Moeen also played a vital role with the bat, scoring 252 runs including the decisive unbeaten 75-run knock in the second innings at Old Trafford. In doing so, he became only the second England all-rounder after the legendary Ian Botham to take at least 25 wickets and score more than 250 runs in a Test series.
“I feel a lot more confident in my ability,” he said.“I feel like it was building… I had been batting well over the last year, and the bowling was coming.”
England captain Joe Root also heaped praise on Moeen.
“He is definitely improving all the time. I said at the start of this series, ‘It’s a great opportunity for guys in that bracket of 30-plus Test matches to stand up and become more senior’,” Root said.
“He has definitely taken that on and put in some brilliant performances. I hope it’s not just a one-off series and he can go on now and do it again and again. It’s great to see Moeen step up and put in some unbelievable displays,” he added.
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