Moeen Ali will make his first senior appearance for Worcestershire Rapids since 2019 Vitality Blast finals day in today’s opening fixture of this summer’s competition against reigning champions Notts Outlaws at New Road (5.30pm start).
The England all-rounder and Rapids captain is available for the start of the tournament in which he made key contributions during the 2018 title triumph and when finishing runners-up 12 months later.
Rapids Head Coach Alex Gidman is delighted to call upon 33-year-old Moeen’s services in a game being televised live on Sky Sports.
He said: “Mo is a world-class player, and he would benefit any team when he is around.
“He loves playing for Worcestershire, and he strengthens us as a group.”
Australian left-arm paceman Ben Dwarshuis and New Zealand leg spinner Ish Sodhi – a former Nottinghamshire player – are included in the 14 strong squad as Worcestershire’s two overseas players in the competition.
Worcestershire have had little time to practice for the white ball tournament after nine weeks of back-to-back LV=Insurance County Championship action.
But many of the squad – including Moeen and Dwarshuis – did play in the Seconds T20 match against a strong Gloucestershire line-up at Kidderminster (see separate report).
Gidman said: “It was an excellent work-out which is exactly what we needed. It has been a tight turnaround from Championship cricket to the Blast.
“To have a good game against some good opposition was perfect.
“It’s a great competition. Everyone enjoys playing in it, and everyone enjoys watching it. It will be nice to have a whole competition, unlike last year, and get cracking again.
“We are looking forward to it; I know our group of players is very talented, and I’m sure they are chomping at the bit to perform individually and as a collective.”
The Outlaws are without captain Dan Christian for the group stages after his call-up by Australia.