Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England captain Alastair Cook has revealed that all-rounder Moeen Ali may be promoted to the top of the batting order during the upcoming series against Pakistan.
Finding a permanent opening partner for Cook has been a major struggle for England as they have used Nick Compton, Joe Root, Michael Carberry, Sam Robson, Jonathan Trott and, most recently, Adam Lyth.
However, just like his predecessors, Lyth was unable to cement his spot as England’s go-to opening batsman as he was dropped after only scoring 115 runs at a dismal average of 12.77 during the recent Ashes series against Australia.
But, should Moeen get the nod to become Cook’s new opening partner, it could pay dividends as Moeen is known for his aggressive mindset at the crease, while Cook is more of a defensive player.
However, Cook revealed that Alex Hales, who replaced Lyth in the Test squad, is also being considered for the position.
“It might be a short-term option and that Mo opens in this series but not in South Africa,” Cook told Sky Sports. “But Alex could always take his chance in a warm-up game and we go that way, so we do have options.”
Speaking about the six opening partners he has had since former captain Andrew Strauss retired in August 2012, Cook said: “No-one has quite nailed the opportunity – they all did okay without really grabbing it. It’s a big step from county cricket to international cricket and opening the batting you are playing against the best bowlers with the new ball.
“Root could have solved it but he was doing so well in the middle order that it seemed wrong to change it. So it is a little bit frustrating but there is a chance for whoever gets it next.”
Meanwhile, Cook believes that England can give Pakistan a run for their money in the United Arab Emirates even though Pakistan whitewashed England 3-0 when they last met in January-February 2012.
The 30-year-old added that he expects leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who is uncapped at the Test level, to play an instrumental role during the series as the pitches in the United Arab Emirates tend to be more spin-friendly.
“There is no rest and the guys have to park the Ashes and start looking forward at how we are going to win in the UAE,” he said. “We have a balanced squad so we could play two spinners – something you pretty much have to do on flat wickets – and four seamers.
“You could even play three spinners in these conditions, so the guys have to be flexible – it may be a different side to what we play in South Africa but that’s what you need to do to win away.
“We have a lot of bowling options on flat wickets and having seen Adil grow in front of our eyes in one-day cricket over the last six months we know he is good enough for Test cricket.”