Phil Tufnell believes playing in home conditions will bring out the best in Moeen Ali’s bowling when England go for glory in this summer’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
All-rounder Ali, who bowls right-arm off break, has struggled for wickets during the opening matches of England’s ODI series in the West Indies as fellow spinner Adil Rashid has flourished.
But despite his lack of wickets in the Caribbean, the 31-year-old has been a key member of the England white-ball team during the country’s rise to the top of the ODI rankings.
And while former England international Tufnell acknowledges the importance of Ali’s batting to the Cricket World Cup hosts this summer, he insists he also has a key role with the ball.
— Phil Tufnell (@philtufnell) 25 February 2019
“Moeen Ali is coming in about nine in the batting, what a player he is, and I think he has gone from strength to strength with his bowling as well,” he said.
“I think he bowls very well together with Rashid. He’s a bit more of a containing bowler, but he can take wickets for England as well on his day.
“If you look at his record he’s a good wicket-taking bowler and another one of these all-rounders which just all slot in to the fabric of the team.
“If you have the likes of Moeen coming in at eight or nine, then that’s a fantastic batting line-up. He can go out and score you a one-day hundred and his bowling just gets better.
“I expect him to thrive in the World Cup. Some of those pitches they’ve been playing in over in the West Indies are pretty flat, but he is a very good bowler in English conditions.
“He’s proved that time and time again. If you look at his record in English conditions, he’s a vital bowler for that England team as well.”
Here’s one we made earlier! 😜 pic.twitter.com/PIB47rYciB
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) 25 February 2019
Tufnell was speaking at the unveiling of a bespoke mural next to Bargate Monument in Southampton as part of the latest leg of the ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour.
Each of the ten host cities will be installing a mural in an iconic location, showing what makes their respective city unique, to coincide with the arrival of the trophy.
Fans will be in with a chance of winning tickets to an ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 fixture at their local venue by sharing the murals on social media with a specific hashtag for each city.
And with Tufnell predicting England can go all the way this summer, he expects the combination of Ali and Rashid to be pivotal to the host nation’s Cricket World Cup hopes.
“With Ali working alongside Adil Rashid, it just gives England two fantastic spinners alongside four or five other seam bowling options – we’re just full of bowling options,” said Tufnell.
“It’s exactly what you want in a one-day side as not everyone always comes off every game, but if you’ve got options as a captain that’s what you’re after.
“I think Ali and Rashid are frontrunners, I think they are pencilled in for the World Cup squad. [England head coach] Trevor Bayliss and the others will roughly know their starting XI.
“I think it’s now just a case of a little bit of jockeying for position, but I think England are pretty well set and those two guys are likely to be the main two spinners.
“Obviously if you can put in some performances, someone like Jack Leach could make an impression, but I think Ali and Rashid are pretty much penned in to the starting XI.”
ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour, driven by Nissan, commences 100-day tour of England and Wales and will be at over 100 locations and events before arriving back in London ready for the opening match on May 30