Got some random job that needs doing? Maybe see if Moeen Ali fancies stepping in

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First published in 2016 and now republished without changing a word – although we did update the lead image and add a link at the bottom.

If you have a problem, if no-one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can ask Moeen Ali to do the job.

He’ll probably say yes.

“Hey Moeen, fancy being an international spin bowler?”

“Yeah, all right.”

“Hey Moeen, great bowling. And great batting in the middle order as well – really dynamic. Do you maybe fancy opening in one-dayers?”

“Yeah, all right.”

“Cracking stuff. Really cracking stuff. Thing is – and I feel a bit awkward saying this because you’ve done really well; don’t for one minute think this reflects on you – but do you maybe fancy batting at eight? Don’t take it as a demotion. It’s more that the other guys can’t seem to bat at eight. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but it does seem to be the case. And you’ve been so adaptable – really just coped with whatever we’ve asked you to do, so…?”

“Yeah, all right.”

“Great stuff with the batting at eight, Mo. Great stuff. Now this is a bit of an odd one – we know you’ve never opened in a first-class match before – but do you maybe fancy opening in Tests?”

“Yeah, all right.”

“Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And, er, how about going back to seven and eight for a bit afterwards and then maybe we can ink you in at five for the winter.”

“Yeah, all right.”

“Okay, so obviously we did want to keep you at five for a while, but the thing is there’s been a few injuries and things, so in this match could you maybe bat at four in the first innings and three in the second?”

“Yeah, all right.”

“Great. I mean really great. We don’t want to mess you about or anything. You’ve really coped admirably with everything we’ve asked you to do and we know it’s not fair to keep messing you about. Ultimately, we want to allow you to get settled in one position. Role definition is very important in this England team. One thing though, er – how are you with spreadsheets? I think I’ve mucked up one of the formulas in this one and I can’t work out what I’ve done. You couldn’t take a quick look, could you? There’s also a problem with the central heating at Loughborough if you could check that out at some point? Also we need someone to make a few hotel bookings.”

“Yeah, all right.”

“Great stuff, Mo. We really value your ability to uncomplainingly turn your hand to literally bloody anything.”

> Moeen Ali: a magnificent malleable peg who filled countless holes in the England Test team


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  1. “Oh, and can you also give quite a few of our press conferences, go fraternise with disadvantaged kids, and still somehow remain immensely likeable?”

    1. Or, if such a job exists (?), “anti-barber”.

      Perhaps “facial hair maintenance technician” or somesuch.

      1. If Ian Bell had appointed Moeen Ali as his personal anti-barber, there’d arguably have been one less gap in the batting order to mess Moeen Ali around with.

  2. As part of the ongoing attempt to find something the whole family can watch together, I recently bought the entire A-Team box set for £20 from Amazon. It is perfect- I like it, my 14yo likes it, my 9yo likes it, and my wife tolerates it.

    The 9yo asked why anyone on the run would drive a distinctive van. We’re so proud.

  3. In a recent piece on all-rounders people were talking about such players having the value of two team members.

    By the sound of it, Moeen should be valued as more than two. I suggest he’s the equivalent of five guys…

    …that’s right…

    Five Guys Named Moeen

    1. I note that Ali sings “safe, sane and a single” in Act I. By Act 2 he is singing “what is the point of being sober any more?” that sounds more like Botham.

  4. When I saw that Moeen had been inked in to bat at one-down, I immediately thought of this article, KC. Thanks for re-sharing.

    It was a bit of a shock to realise that you wrote it nearly seven years ago, though. Where does the time go?

    1. I actually still thought it was 2016 really. Things made more sense then in many ways.

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