England shouldn’t expect fireworks from the off from Moeen Ali, says Vic Marks of The Guardian.
Worcestershire’s Ali has been called up by the England selectors for the Test, which starts on Thursday.
Ali has taken 61 wickets at an average of 30 in two years at Worcestershire, but Marks told the Cricket Writers on TV panel expectations over Ali’s impact should be lowered.
“You could argue he’s a better bowler than Samit Patel, who’s probably his closest rival,” he said.
“But you mustn’t expect him to turn up on Thursday as a fully-fledged Test spinner, because he’s nowhere near that.
“It’s a great opportunity, but for him to stay in that Test team, what he’s got to do is get his quota of runs at number six. If he gets his runs he could play the whole series, the whole summer, and he could play next year in the Ashes.
The Daily Mail’s Paul Newman recently met Ali and said the all-rounder thinks he could cause the Sri Lankans problems with the tricky doosra delivery, which can cause controversy over the legality of the bowling action.
“Moeen’s experimented with this over the last couple of years – we’ve seen him doing it on the field,” he said
“But he’s worked very closely with Saeed Ajmal this season, to the point where he’s confident he can bowl it effectively. It was interesting, the terminology he used – he kept saying ‘I think I can get away with it’ – and I took that to mean ‘I think it’s legal’.
“Steve Rhodes was encouraging him to bowl it at Worcestershire, so it’ll be fascinating to see if he bowls it at a Test match, especially after what’s happened to [Sachithra] Senanayake.”
Senanayake has been reported to the ICC over a potentially illegal bowling action, amid a feisty one-day series involving plenty of words shared between the captains.
Tom Collomosse of the London Evening Standard believes it could be a clever piece of gamesmanship from Ali, who may not deliver on his promise.
“I think it’s fairly canny,“ he said. ”Before any Ashes series Shane Warne would always say ‘I’ve got this new delivery’ and then he’d never bowl it
“It was just the fact of placing the doubt in the batsman’s mind. It’s probably no bad thing if somebody things he’s going to bowl a doosra.”
Marks, however, says people shouldn’t be distracted by the possibility of a special delivery and simply look at the potential of England’s latest recruit.
“I wouldn’t worry about his doosra just yet,” he said. “I think you’ve got to temper your expectations of Moeen. Basically, we know he is a batsman who is learning to bowl, and he’s probably the best of the bunch of that ilk.
“I think Ali might be a better off-spinner than Graeme Hick – he needs to be if he’s going to fulfil the function England want him to play.”
Watch England take on Sri Lanka in the first Test at Lord's from Thursday, 10am, Sky Sports 2.