Joe Root says Moeen Ali has England support over 'Osama' claim
England captain confirms he will bat at No 4 this winter and says Moeen has great chance of batting at No 3
By James Dale
Last Updated: 29/09/18 9:58am
England captain Joe Root says team-mate Moeen Ali has the full support of the dressing room over a claim he was called 'Osama' by an Australian player in the 2015 Ashes.
Cricket Australia is investigating the claim, which was made in an extract from Moeen's new autobiography revealed last week.
The alleged comment took place in the first Test of the series in Cardiff, in which Ali made his Ashes debut - scoring 77 runs and taking five wickets as England beat Australia.
"He's such a good guy, everybody loves having him around," Root told Sky Sports News. "He adds so much to the dressing room environment and obviously as part of the tight-knit team we are - we all get on so well together - you're always there for each other.
"Mo will know he's got that whole dressing room behind him."
Moeen impressed on his return to England's Test side in the fourth match of their series against India, taking nine for 134 in Southampton and being promoted to No 3 for the second innings to allow Root to take his favoured spot at No 4.
A half-century followed for Moeen in the final Test at The Oval, before he returned to county cricket to lead Worcestershire to victory on T20 Finals Day with 2-16 in the first game and 3-30 in the showpiece.
"Moeen obviously came in and did a great job in difficult circumstances," Root said. "It's great to see guys taking those chances.
Asked if Moeen will take the No 3 spot for the winter, Root said: "He's given himself the best opportunity that's for sure. All he can do is continue to work hard, keep playing as he has.
"To perform like that coming back from and England Test series and the expectation there it just shows the class of the player.
"The beauty of me going up to number three was I found out my preferred position is at number four. It's important we can build around that now and I can get the best out of myself in that position."
The squad for England's series in Sri Lanka is expected to be named in the next fortnight and Alastair Cook's retirement means there is a spot available for an opener.
"It's a great opportunity for someone to come in and take that chance," said Root.
"It's an exciting time for the side and the guys that will get that chance. We've got the opportunity to do something which in the current era is quite difficult to do and that's winning away from home."
Earlier on Tuesday, the England captain met school children at the Village Hotel Club in Leeds South to launch their nationwide community project called The Village Green.
The initiative will see the hotel chain commit more than 30,000 hours per year across its 30 hotels to volunteering in the community.