Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
England head coach Peter Moores has revealed that batsman Ian Bell helped all-rounder Moeen Ali improve his off-spin by giving him a lot of advice about what kind of line and length to bowl.
Ali recently took a career-best 6-67 in the second innings of the third Test against India in Southampton to lead England to an impressive 266-run win.
“At Lord’s, you saw somebody who had improved quite a lot and had started to bowl tighter,” Moore said. “His run-rate came down and he created some pressure. Today resulted in some wickets. Ian Bell was quite important in that. You can get feedback about the pace and lines that are difficult for batsmen to play. Mo has adjusted and grown really quickly.
“Bell was batting in the nets and talked to Moeen about the paces and lines that he would find challenging,” Moores said. “Belly is a fantastic player of spin so feeding back to one of his team-mates, ‘Well, actually, I find that really difficult or that pace is quite nice for me,’ is what good teams should do. It is still up to Mo what he decides to do, but you improve because you talk and work with people.
“The quality of his bowling has improved. Test cricket is about how rapidly people grow in it and he’s grown very quickly as a bowler. Hopefully, that carries on. He’s a very sensible lad, he knows he’s got to keep doing a lot of work.”
Moores added that Ali is constantly ‘getting better’ and praised him for helping England level the series at 1-1.
“Moeen keeps getting better,” Moores said. “And he’s getting better quickly. To get people like Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli out – they are high-class players of spin – is a very good sign for Mo for the future.
“Moeen is in the side as a batter and a very rapidly emerging spin bowler. He does two things that are essential for a top-flight spinner: he attacks both edges. He gets great drift and he turns the ball. He spins the ball hard. Without those two things, it is very difficult. If you only attack one edge of the bat, people can work you out quite fast. But because Mo creates drift, there is a challenge for all batters. He can nick people off. It is not a doosra, it is a heavily-spun off-break and it drifts away.”