Thursday, April 20th, 2017

Moeen Backs Worcs For Promotion As He Returns For Northants Clash

Moeen Backs Worcs For Promotion As He Returns For Northants Clash

Moeen Ali says he is feeling recharged after a hectic winter with England as he returns to action tomorrow for Worcestershire.

The all-rounder has been made available by the ECB for the Specsavers County Championship clash with Northamptonshire at New Road plus three matches in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

And the 29-year-old believes Worcestershire can mount a strong challenge for promotion back to Division One – particularly with the acquisition of John Hastings as their overseas player.

Hastings has already made a big impact with five wickets and a half century in the opening win over Glamorgan at the SWALEC Stadium in just over two days.

Moeen said: "Is this squad good enough to be promoted? I believe so. We have been together as a side for a while and have got a very good overseas player with great experience.

"I think that is what we were probably lacking.

"I've played against him a bit in the ODIs. He's a very good player. I have spoken to the guys at Durham and they say he is a fantastic overseas player.

"He gives it everything on the pitch and he is a very good guy.

"We have some very good all-rounders and that is going to help. We just need the guys to hit form and they have made a good start.

"We've got good young players who have played quite a bit now so hopefully we can all gell together this year and surprise a few people.

"It is always tough and not easy but we've always done alright."

Moeen is in his 11th season with Worcestershire and said: "I love playing here. The club means a lot to me. It's a great place to play especially on days when the weather is beautiful. It's a great ground.

"The Championship game is very important from a Worcestershire point of view and from a personal point of view to get some form and bat some time.

"But the three one-dayers (Royal London Cup) are also something I'm definitely looking forward to, and hopefully opening the batting again."

As someone who plays all three formats for England, Moeen has had little time off this winter and was glad of a break after the ODIs in the West Indies in early March.

He said: "I needed a break after the winter and I've had one. It's been a tough two years so it has been great to have a break.

"You just get into a mindset and get on with it. Personally I love cricket playing but I did feel tired towards the end of the winter."

Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes is always delighted to welcome Moeen back with open arms and says it is a welcome selection headache after the win at the SWALEC Stadium.

He said: "We always love having Moeen back and he enjoys playing for us. He is allowed to played in this game and three one-dayers and it will be a great tonic for the boys.

"He is well liked in our dressing room – as he is in the England dressing room – and he is a wonderful player.

"He is a wonderful character and his attitude is brilliant when he comes back to play for us and he is great cricketer for us.

"He might be a bit rusty actually (not playing since early March) or he could be best when fresh. The good thing about Mo is he has got international class qualities as a cricketer and we welcome him back.

"We are happy to have the selection headache. It's a wonderful problem to have.

"It is a nice connundrum to have and whoever misses out in the eleven, it is special circumstances and I think they know that too."