Former England spinner Graeme Swann feels that under-fire all-rounder Moeen Ali’s current dip in form means he should not be selected for the second Ashes Test, beginning August 14 at Lord’s.
“I love Moeen Ali and I want him to play every game, but he is not selectable right now,” Swann told Betfair. “Moeen is not bowling with any confidence. He didn’t pull his weight in the first Test and we’re carrying him at the moment”.
The 32-year-old Moeen looked out of sorts in the first Ashes Test, which England lost by 251 runs at Birmingham. Moeen managed lacklustre combined figures of 3-172 from 42 overs, while garnering only nought and four with the bat. On both occasions, he fell to Nathan Lyon, his off-spinning counterpart in the Australian camp.
“His confidence is shot, he shouldn’t be playing – and I’m not saying that because he bowled a couple of beamers. When you look at his batting, he is a walking wicket because he is bereft of ideas and confidence against Nathan Lyon.”
"His floundering with the bat and England’s long-form struggles in general have masked a fact which grows ever more evident with each passing game. Moeen Ali is now one of the best Test spinners in the world."@Ben_Wisden on the enigma that is Moeen Ali.https://t.co/R5ldLAHlYT
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) July 29, 2019
Swann, who took 255 wickets in 60 Tests, believes that Moeen is just as talented as Lyon, but his dip in confidence means that England might have to look beyond the 60-Test veteran.
“Nathan Lyon is the perfect example of what confidence does for a spinner. He has not got one iota of talent more than Moeen, and yet he is 10 times the bowler because he believes in himself.”
England could be tempted to replace Moeen with Jack Leach, who was a surprise hero with the bat in the one-off Test against Ireland last month, scoring a career-best 92 as a nightwatchman at Lord’s.
“You need a spinner who is going to tie down one end and, frankly, Jack Leach’s batting will last longer than Mo’s does,” Swann added.