Moeen Ali likely to open in UAE

Krishna Chopra / 11 October 2015

Moeen Ali has been backed by England’s head coach Trevor Bayliss to open the batting in the upcoming tests against Pakistan in UAE. With England struggling with their opening combinations in test cricket since the last few years, this is another attempt to solve the problem. Bayliss was positive about Ali partnering Cook at the top and doing a good job.

“I think at this stage Mo has probably got his nose in front,” Bayliss said. “Alastair and I will sit down over the next day or so to discuss it and come up with the eleven so everyone knows what it is probably by Sunday’s first practice session,” Bayliss said.  “It’s probably not ideal. Obviously we’ve got Alex Hales here who we know can be an explosive batter. But I think Mo has shown that he’s a good player against spin and he can play the pace bowling and he’s handled the pressure during that Ashes series. If he is batting in the top six, it does give us opportunities further down the line with the make-up of the team.”

Bayliss also feels that Moeen Ali can be the long term solution for the opening partner for Alastair Cook. “I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a problem position because Mo is a good enough player that he could actually be the answer,” Bayliss said. “He could turn himself into that opening batter.

“My advice to him if he gets the nod is to go out and play his natural game. I think it will be very important to get decent starts over here against the new ball. The older the ball gets and the lower the wickets get, the harder it gets to score runs. We’ll be looking to get off to a good start and if Mo can play his natural game that gives us the ability to get off to those good starts,” said Bayliss.

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