Panesar backs Moeen for England recall
Former England spinner Monty Panesar expects Moeen Ali to be recalled for the fourth Ashes Test, which starts next Wednesday at Old Trafford.
England kept the series alive with a stunning one-wicket victory over Australia at Headingley, with Ben Stokes scoring 135 not out and putting on 76 with last man Jack Leach.
Leach only contributed one to the partnership, but stuck around for 17 balls to earn cult status, although during the third Test he only bowled 11 overs on his way to one wicket for 46 runs in the second innings.
Moeen is back firing for Worcestershire and Panesar, who played 50 Tests for England, told the PA news agency: “I expect Moeen to get a recall at Old Trafford because the ball turns there.
“He is batting good and he has his confidence back. I think he should be included and if I was an England selector I would recall him for the fourth Test.”
Moeen was dropped after Australia went 1-0 up in the series with victory at Edgbaston earlier this month – a game where the all-rounder scored a combined total of four and claimed three for 172 across two innings.
Worcestershire revealed the 32-year-old would then take a “short break” from the game but he returned within a week to feature in a Specsavers County Championship Division Two match against Northamptonshire.
After scoring 42 and 40, whilst picking up three wickets, Ali then smashed 85 not out at Edgbaston in a Vitality Blast match against Birmingham.
With confidence flowing again with both bat and ball, Panesar believes the all-rounder will return for Joe Root’s side next week, probably in place of Leach.
“I think England are a stronger team when Moeen Ali is in there. Obviously Jack Leach provides that left-arm spin, but the team is stronger with Moeen,” Panesar added.
Leach, who also starred with the bat for England against Ireland at Lord’s in July scoring 92 batting as a nightwatchman, picked up four wickets in the second Ashes Test, but only one in the first innings.
Captain Root then decided against using the Somerset spinner during the first innings of the third Test, with Australia dismissed for 179.
Leach was called upon next time around, but only for 11 overs before his telling contribution came with the bat alongside Stokes during a dramatic Sunday at Headingley.
“Jack is an old-fashioned, traditional spinner. He will not get the same purchase as Nathan Lyon,” Panesar said.
“He has the ability to win games in helpful conditions and the challenge for him will be to take first innings wickets, but he shouldn’t put too much pressure on himself if that doesn’t happen.”