Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Bumpy Gives England Test Hero Moeen Chance To Develop

It was at the end of the 2009 campaign that Gareth Batty's eight season spell at New Road came to an end and he linked up with Surrey for a second stint.

Worcestershire Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes could have gone searching for another experienced spinner to plug the gap.

But he saw the potential of a raw Moeen Ali after his arrival from Warwickshire and gave him the chance to develop as a front-line bowler.

That promise gradually flourished, initially at County level and then with England for the past three and a half years.

It all culminated in his outstanding performance at the home of cricket when he became the first Worcestershire player to take 10 Test wickets in a match – while on the County staff.

Rhodes said: "When Gareth Batty left us, we could easily have gone into the market for an off spinner.

"But we already got one (in Moeen) and, as with all spinners, they do take time to develop, you do have to go through some heartaches.

"We were determined to try and give Moeen the opportunity to develop.

"Thankfully he then managed to get into the England team and is now starting to be a real good performer for them with bat and ball."

Rhodes was delighted to see Moeen cope with the expectations to take wickets in the Proteas second innings in favourable conditions for spinners.

He said: "There is pressure on him when the wicket is spinning. England did get bowled out so suddenly South Africa had a sniff.

"What tends to happen then is everyone says 'the spinners will win the game for us' so extra pressure is added.

"He is getting used to dealing with that sort of pressure bowling last, just trying to hit a good area and let the wicket do the work.

"He bowled beautifully and I know Joe Root was absolutely delighted so, for a Worcestershire player to be taking 10 wickets in a Test match, as well as the runs he scored in the first innings, we are very proud of him."

The likes of Saeed Ajmal, Shakib Al Hasan and Imran Khan – all distinguished former Worcestershire players – all picked up 10 wicket hauls on Test duty.

But they occured before or after their spells with the County.

Worcestershire Rapids return to Natwest T20 Blast duty on Friday evening when they take on Leicestershire Foxes at New Road (5.30pm start).