Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Rhodes Says England Star Moeen “loves Playing For Worcs”

Rhodes Says England Star Moeen “loves Playing For Worcs”

Moeen Ali returns to Specsavers County Championship action at Bristol tomorrow for the first time in nine months with Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes admitting: "He loves playing for Worcestershire."

The all-rounder is likely to revert to his number three role against Gloucestershire after becoming a regular at number eight for England.

Moeen is available for the next three Championship matches in preparation for the forthcoming Test series against Sri Lanka.

Rhodes said: "We are always happy to welcome Moeen back and he is really looking forward to it.

"He has been in early morning during the last few days doing one to one stuff. He wants to hit plenty of balls which is great for us although a little bit hard on my shoulder!

"It will be good to have him back, not just his batting but his bowling which has progressed nicely with the England set-up."

Rhodes says Moeen has the same enjoyment on returning to County action as he used to himself after playing for England.

He said: "Coming back to county cricket, I loved it. You did find it easier but I loved coming back to the enviroment where you'd played with your mates before you made it for England.

"The bottom line was trying to win games for Worcestershire and Moeen is no different. He loves playing for Worcestershire.

"He wants to play as often as he can and he is itching to get some runs and itching to do well for Worcestershire and get us a win under our belts."

Moeen's availability means Rhodes has made one change to the squad selected for the Kent game. Alexei Kervezee is not included in the 12 man party.

Worcestershire have plenty of seam options with Henry, Jack Shantry, Joe Leach, Ed Barnard and Charlie Morris all in contention.

Rhodes says Worcestershire will reap the benefits of three days internal match action at Kidderminster and New Road ahead of tomorrow's clash.

He said: "We will be fresh and keen and enthusiastic and this week, with the three days playing competitive cricket in a match situation, will serve us really well going into Sunday.

"I find Gloucs are a county progressing in the right direction. They've got some good players and Roderick is an excellent batter.

"I think Miles might be unfit and Fuller has moved on so they area little bit lighter with the ball but they will always be a tough ask on their home ground and will be a difficult nut to crack."

Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell will be making his first ever Championship appearance at Bristol more than a decade after his debut.

Mitchell scored a magnificent 167 not out when the sides met at Cheltenham two years ago.

Worcestershire (from):

Daryl Mitchell

Brett D'Oliveira

Moeen Ali

Joe Clarke

T Kohler-Cadmore

Ross Whiteley

Ben Cox

Joe Leach

Ed Barnard

Matt Henry

Jack Shantry

Charlie Morris