England should think about playing their main spinner

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2 minute read
Photo by Sarah Ansell

When Moeen Ali was first labelled England’s second spinner, it was widely assumed that Liam Dawson must therefore be the first spinner. It stood to reason.

However, Moeen supposedly remained the second spinner even when he was the only one of the two selected, which raises the possibility that Dawson was actually the third spinner all along.

So who is England’s main spinner? No idea, but they should seriously consider picking him. If the second choice fella can take 25 wickets at 15.64 in a four-Test series – including a hat trick – then just imagine what kind of an impact the first choice guy would have had.

It also seems highly likely that England are failing to pick their best five specialist batsmen, so they might want to address that one too.

But back to Moeen, because we have a theory to posit. Our theory is this: Moeen Ali is engaged in an ongoing post-modern joke that no-one else is in on. We believe he is actively going out of his way to give the most boring answers to post-match interviews.

We finally saw through his ruse while watching Channel 5’s highlights of the fourth Test. Mark Nicholas tried to corner him with a leading question that positively demanded an interesting answer. He asked whether Jimmy Anderson had been getting any stick from his team-mates for having an end named after him.

Of course he has. Everyone knows he has. All Moeen had to do was say one of the things that had been said. Instead, he chose to answer a different question; a blander question. He said that it was a great honour for Jimmy to have an end named after him and everyone in the team was happy for him.

Moeen is fundamentally smart, self-aware and interesting. He is doing this on purpose. Next time you’re watching him being interviewed, entertain yourself by playing “how the hell will Moeen get out of saying something interesting this time.”

It is a game that will hopefully run and run.


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  1. Indeed, Moeen is nearly as evasive withy his answers as Trevor Bayliss, who is surely the master at saying absolutely nothing with quite a lot of words…

    …just a tick; we’ve cracked it.

    Trevor Bayliss is the number one spinner and Moeen Ali is the number two spinner.

    They’re not talking about spinning the ball at all…

  2. Is there an article coming on the batsman you mention? Out of interest who do you think the best 5 specialist batsman are if no article to follow?

      1. Presumably if Moeen can be the second spinner in a side with one spinner than Gary Ballance can be the sixth best batsman and just miss out on getting into a side with only two batsmen?

    1. Are you the underwater handgliding commentator from Worcester by any chance, Bradders?

  3. So you think Moeen is deliberately being dull and literal in his responses as part of a post-modern joke.

    That is what you said.


    1. I think we’d all agree that Bert’s made a comment there.

      He’s logged into his device (possibly his phone, maybe a PC, but that’s not really for me to say, you’d have to ask Bert about that) at 1:10 this morning, has typed the words – in the right area, it’s key to get them in the right area, that’s what commenters need to focus on – and then he’s hit the Post Comment button.

      Some people might reply to Bert’s comment, but at the end of the day he just needs to focus on his next comment – forget the last one as soon as it’s posted – and make sure that’s in the right area as well. It might be on this post, it might be on a different post, but I have 100% confidence that Bert will comment again on this website.

      Sorry, what was the question again?

  4. Moeen should be the first spinner and Root should be the second. This way, people can say ‘England have finally found their MoJo’.

    It will all be very nice.

  5. So. At the start of the summer you would have got long odds on a Test team featuring Stoneman, Westley, Malan, Roland-Jones and Mason Crane.

  6. A thought. Moeen tried to say something interesting once: he just said it with wristbands. That got slapped down fast. And now he says things that are as dull as possible. Coincidence?

    1. Stoneman first class bowling:
      Balls 204
      Runs 150
      Wickets 0

      His nickname is ‘Rocky’.

      If Mason Crane’s nickname is not Frasier, or possibly Niles, his team-mates are missing a trick.

      Possible XI for Edgbaston:

      Mini chef
      The Dragon
      AC Malan
      The Beard
      The Wizard
      31-Year-Old Medium Pace Bowler
      The James Anderson End

      1. Why is Westley not Dread Pirate Westley, or does no one know that anymore?

        I saw a poster at the doctor’s today that taught me that another name for ankylosing spondylitis is spondylitis ankylopoetica. Isn’t that pretty? (Probably not. Probably more painful.)

        Did Malan get to bowl at all?

  7. If you read an interview with Moeen Ali in a newspaper, it will be interesting, but it will always be the same one. It is about his background, his father and the extent to which progress has to be made in getting Asians into top level cricket.

    1. So you’re saying he hasn’t given a hundred interviews, but he’s given the same interview a hundred times?

  8. Rashid really shouldn’t have run over the Chairman of Selector’s puppy on his lawnmower while grass-arting rude comments about the chap’s wife in their front garden, but it probably didn’t help that he scratched the selectorial Jag on his way out.

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