Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Mason: Give Bumpy “huge Credit” For Handing Moeen Chance To Develop As Spinner

Mason: Give Bumpy “huge Credit” For Handing Moeen  Chance To Develop As Spinner

Bowling coach Matt Mason believes Worcestershire Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes deserves "huge credit" for putting faith in the then unproven Moeen Ali as the county's front-line spinner five years ago.

Mason feels that decision has played a major role in Moeen now earning his first Test call-up with England for next week's opening Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's.

Rhodes was faced with a hole to fill in the county squad at the end of the 2009 season when England spinner Gareth Batty parted company with the county and rejoined Surrey.

He could have looked outside of New Road to plug the gap but the former England wicket-keeper saw potential in Moeen as an off-spinner as well as being a key member of the batting line-up.

That faith by Rhodes has been rewarded and it is his capabilities as an all-rounder that have helped Moeen get the call-up to add to his ODI and T20 appearances for his country.

Mason said: "Bumpy should take huge credit because he saw some potential in Moeen as a bowler.

"It was a brave move, after Gareth Batty left the club, to go into a season without a front-line spinner.

"Spin bowling is such a fine art and Moeen has done well in what is relatively a short space of time.

"You can argue having that second string to his bow which has made him a little bit more selectable in the eyes of the England selectors and everyone is so pleased at the club at his Test call-up."

Given the nature of the pitches at New Road, Moeen was able to slowly but surely hone his spinning skills.

Mason said: "If we look historically at the wickets here at New Road, in recent years they've not been big turning pitches.

"Because we had a strong seam attack for Moeen to work around, it meant we could use him sparingly and not expose him too much whiler he developed his bowling in the early days."

Rhodes said: "Moeen is a quick learner. He has spent two, three, four years now where he is learning his trade and we have seen the results of it because we just bowl him as much as we can, whenever we can.

"England possibly wouldn't have seen him as a spinner if we had got another spinner in (in 2009).

"I think we have helped his cause in him trying to get a slot as an all-rounder with England."