Confident Moeen ready to shine for England in the Caribbean
Moeen Ali is ready to accept the responsibility of being England's leading spinner in Test cricket ahead of the series against West Indies, as the tourists consider their bowling options for the first game in Barbados.
England recorded an impressive 3-0 series whitewash over Sri Lanka at the end of last year, with Moeen taking 18 wickets as part of a three-pronged spin attack that also included Jack Leach and Adil Rashid, who claimed 18 and 12 scalps respectively.
However, team management must decide whether to stick with the trio who featured in the subcontintent or instead make changes in the Caribbean, with the use of the Dukes ball likely to see the seamers more heavily involved than they were in Sri Lanka.
Moeen could, therefore, end up being the only slow bowler in the side, though he is happy to carry the burden after a productive return to the team since he was dropped for the second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch last March.
"I wouldn't find it as difficult to be the only spinner in the side as I once probably did," Ali said in an interview with Sky Sports.
"I've played quite a bit now and I feel like at this moment in time my bowling is at its best in terms of my control and my work with Saqlain [Mushtaq, England's spin coach] on my mindset.
"I will happily take on that responsibility as I have done it on other occasions but I loved having the other guys (in the side) as well."
The Beard That's Feared! pic.twitter.com/1qYek1fb0E— England Cricket (@englandcricket) January 21, 2019
While England have to work out their best attack to suit the conditions at the Kensington Oval, the batting line-up appears to be clear, at least for the start of the series.
Jonny Bairstow is set to continue at number three after his hundred in the final Test against Sri Lanka, with Moeen having started the series in that position before dropping down the order.
The Worcestershire all-rounder feels more at home in the middle, affording him the opportunity to play in an aggressive manner.
"If I'm bowling a lot it is difficult to bat three," he said.
"It is a very tough position and I feel it is for someone who can bat a long time and score big runs and I can't do that!
"I feel like I am quite important down the order, can change the momentum of the game and I like that role."