Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England all-rounder Moeen Ali has admitted that he was relieved to have been dropped from the Test team for the second Test against New Zealand as it allowed him to “work on my game and mentally have a break from the pressure of playing”.
Moeen endured a difficult winter as he failed to have much of an impact during the Ashes against Australia and the in the first Test against New Zealand.
In the Ashes, Moeen was expected to make his presence felt with both the bat and ball, but failed to do so as he scored 179 runs at an average of 19.88 and took five wickets at an average of 115.
There were hopes that Moeen would rediscover his form in New Zealand, but in the day-night Test in Auckland, he made scores of 0 and 28 and failed to claim a wicket.
“When I didn’t play the last Test in New Zealand it was a relief,” he told The Guardian. “I could have been dropped three Tests earlier – I probably should have been – but Joe said he sees me as a match-winner and, with 50 matches of experience, they wanted to give me a longer run.
“It was almost like: ‘Right, now I can actually work on my game and mentally have a break from the pressure of playing.’ When it’s my time again, I will be ready.”
Explaining his dismal performance during the Ashes, the 30-year-old said: “I have been up and down the batting order and it’s difficult. People don’t always realise that.
“If you look at my last 18 months, I went to from batting four and five in India – scoring two hundreds – then to No 7 as second spinner at home before dropping to No 8. When we got to Australia I was down to bat six, then went to seven when the series started. You don’t really know your role.
“You do your best but I think I’m going to try and get back in as a batsman first, spinner second. The problem is, because I have played more than others – say if Jack Leach is in the same team, or Liam Dawson or Adil Rashid before – I’ll still get seen as the senior spinner because I’m more experienced.”