England’s spin coach Jeetan Patel hopes Moeen Ali’s eight-wicket match haul against India will be the “carrot” that lures him back into the Test fold on a permanent basis.
Moeen opted to take time out of international cricket after being dropped from England’s Ashes side 18 months ago, but picked up four wickets in each innings during his Test comeback in Chennai.
Patel, the former New Zealand bowler who has been working with England’s spinners this winter, is keen to see the 33-year-old featuring regularly again at Test level.
“I love watching Mo play cricket and bowl in any form of cricket and I think he’s got a lot to offer this group, especially around the changing room,” said Patel. “I hope this is enough of a carrot for him.
“The one thing Mo needed out of red-ball cricket was a bit of love from the game and I think he’s got that. Hopefully he can score some runs and really fall in love with red-ball cricket again.
“I’m stoked for him – just gutted that he didn’t get a five-for. He probably deserved that, if not two of them. He deserved 10 in the match, I think he bowled enough good balls to get that but it didn’t quite work out for him.
“But I’m sure he’ll be very pleased with that on his Test match comeback, to bowl 60 overs and contribute like he has. The one things he’s probably got left is another contribution with the bat.
“They’re amazing deliveries – they shape away from the right-hander, they dip, hit the wicket hard and spin big, so I don’t know what more people would want. I think his rewards show that he’s close and he’s good enough.
“Initially Mo showed signs of nerves and maybe was a touch anxious about how it would go for him. But as the game went on, he was really positive about how he was doing his job and that’s good to see.”
Moeen finished India’s second innings with figures of 4-98 – including the wicket of captain Virat Kohli for the second time in the match – as the home side posted 286 to set England an unlikely victory target of 482.
Along with Moeen, left-armer Jack Leach shouldered the majority of the bowling burden and registered similar figures of 4-100, with the spin duo sending down 65 overs between them.
“Maybe the ball was newer and harder in the morning, but their impact was fantastic and they almost set up the game,” added Patel. “Then a couple of half-chances didn’t go our way and India put us under pressure, trying to hit boundaries.
“But they’ve bowled a lot of overs – they’ve had one session off in three days – and that’s not how you win Test matches. It’s not an excuse, it’s just part of the reason as to why there’s inconsistency.
“That’s probably the reason why we left Dom Bess out, because he’s had a high workload and he looked tired at the back end of that first Test.
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