Moeen Ali insists nothing will change if he takes temporary England captaincy

A relaxed Moeen Ali insists nothing will change if he takes the England captaincy over the coming weeks with Jos Buttler on standby to be at the birth of his third child.

England face Pakistan at Edgbaston on Saturday in the second match of the Vitality T20 International Series eager for time in the middle after Wednesday’s Headingley opener was a washout.

Vice-captain Moeen is on notice to step in at any time during the four-match series with Pakistan or even at the T20 World Cup, which starts on June 2, given Buttler’s wife Louise is due to give birth soon.

“Obviously if it happens, then it’s a great honour as it always is,” England white-ball vice-captain Moeen said.

“I’ll be fine. Nothing will change too much, it’s just taking over from what he’s doing and then when he comes back, he takes over.

“Hopefully, the baby comes at the right time where he doesn’t miss too many games!

“For me, it’s just whatever will happen, will happen. It’s not really difficult, to be honest with you, because we speak often, me and Jos. We talk about other things, the team and all that. We’re on the same page anyway.”

England were left frustrated in Leeds but Moeen believes the upcoming three T20s in Birmingham, Cardiff and London will be enough to get the current champions geared up for the defence of their short-format crown in the West Indies and United States next month.

Moeen added: “It was obviously disappointing (on Wednesday) because Leeds is a great place to go and play.

“Playing cricket is always the best preparation. I know most of the guys have been playing. A few guys have been training but it’s not the same, so hopefully they’ll get some game time.

“These three games should be enough for the guys to get going and there’s a bit of time in the West Indies, a few training sessions. We’ll be fine. There’s no real excuses from our side.”

Moeen was part of the England squad which crashed out of the 50-over World Cup in the group stage in India last year.

The 36-year-old insisted that poor title defence would not play on the minds of the group but admitted they felt “more comfortable” in T20 cricket anyway.

Quizzed on if this could be his final major tournament with England, a decade after he made his World Cup bow at the 2014 edition in Bangladesh, Moeen was non-committal.

England’s Moeen Ali
England’s Moeen Ali (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Maybe. I don’t know. For me personally, if I’m playing well, my body’s good and I’m fit, then I want to be playing for as long as I can,” he reflected.

“I love and enjoy playing for England. It could be that at the World Cup, I’m not feeling as good and I’m not playing well and I just decide this isn’t me anymore. I don’t really think too much about it.”

One player eager to feature in this World Cup and many more for England is Jofra Archer, who is primed to make his first international appearance on home soil since 2020 this weekend.

Moeen said: “It’s amazing to have Jof back.

“Someone of his talent, I know he’s been out for a couple of years but to have him back fully fit is amazing and to watch him bowl again for England is what we’ve all been hoping for, for ages now.

“He’s massive for us. He’s very, very important.”

England could have Liam Livingstone available at Edgbaston after a minor knee issue and will also have to deal with a stop-clock on Saturday.

The new limited-overs rule, which forces fielding teams to be ready for a new over 60 seconds after the last over has finished, can penalise teams with a five-run penalty if they are not ready on three separate occasions.

“Obviously it is going to be strict and these things we can’t take lightly,” Moeen warned.