Moeen Ali, England’s second spinner, takes a hat trick

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Photo by Sarah Ansell

We’ve told you before how we once saw a story in the local paper where a woman had come second in some sort of vegetable growing competition despite being the only person to enter something in that particular category. The judges decided that her entry was only worthy of a silver medal, despite it having zero competition.

So it is with Moeen Ali. Speaking before the second Test, England coach Trevor Bayliss asserted that the man we like to call Bowling Ali was the team’s second spinner.

England promptly dropped their first spinner, but who’s to say that Moeen isn’t still second in a hierarchy of one?

People don’t call Moeen a part-timer quite as much they once did, but the all-rounder is still short of the respect he deserves.

Perhaps it’s a matter of perception and expectation.

As we’ve been saying for three years now, Moeen Ali is not a spinner to tie up an end – nor is that something he should particularly aspire to. Maybe if people accept this and realise that defensive bowling lies down a different road to attacking bowling, England’s best player might be acknowledged as precisely that.

Failing that, this hat trick should at least buy him a couple more matches.


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  1. In honour of Sam: in not particularly related news, it’s very pleasing to see Chanderpaul is so happy to be spludgeoning centuries that he’s been doing it for Lancashire’s 2nd XI…

    1. Yet he’s retired from Test cricket because he doesn’t want to play it any more.

      A mark of what the WICB have achieved.

      1. The memory tends to go as you get older Sam, it must be even worse when you’re dead, so perhaps you died and have just forgotten?

  2. Drop Moeen now.

    The last England spinner to take a test hat-trick has taken no wickets at all this season (or the last). Therefore the only logical assumption is that Moeen’s career as a front line bowler is finished and the only appropriate thing to do is drop him.

  3. Strange things, test hat-tricks.

    They have far less rarity value now than they once did.

    In the first 32 years of my life there were only three of them – fewer than one per decade.

    In the next 23 years there were 24 of them – more than one a year.

    Moeen’s is so far unique as the first ever at the Oval, the first ever by an England spinner in England and the first ever dismissing three left-handers.

    Test hat-tricks.

    1. Since a decent proportion of batters are left-handed the unique “all-leftie” stat astonishes me.

    2. Perhaps one should normalize that with the number of matches played in those periods rather than the time. Still, that’s an interesting bit of trivia.

      1. Excellent point, DC.

        I was born soon after test 534 was completed and turned 32 during test 1267:

        733 test matches in 32 years yielding 3 test hat tricks. On average a hat trick once every 244 matches.

        Moen’s hat trick was in test 2266:

        999 test matches in fewer than 23 years yielding 24 hat tricks. On average a hat trick every 41 or 42 matches.

        I took my own little personal hat trick just before the start of test no 760. There had been no test hat tricks during my life at that point, although there had been 225 test matches.

  4. Bayliss is considering reinstating Dawson for Old Trafford and moving everyone back up a spot.

    Is it possible for fans to revolt against the coach despite having just secured a crushing Test victory?

    I mean, seriously. They don’t seem to have a clue.

    1. I’m surprised he hasn’t mooted Hales as coming back into the opener’s spot. Would make about as much sense, and we’d get hilarious bowling into the bargain.

    2. If the Old Trafford pitch is anything like the turgid, glued-together sandpit I witnessed last September, playing four seamers and two spinners is not as daft an idea as it sounds.

      My problem is the choice of “first spinner”, but that seems to have been sealed for the remainder of this series.

      Have I ever mentioned that I once took a hat trick with sort-of off-spin, btw?

      I don’t talk about it much.

  5. The excellent George Dobell agrees… I quote from his Cricinfo article:

    It stretched a remarkable run of records Moeen is accumulating in recent times: already one of just three men to score 1,000 Test runs and take 30 Test wickets in a calendar year (Ian Botham and Jacques Kallis are the other two) after a strong 2016, he recently reached the milestone of 100 wickets and 2,000 runs quicker than Garry Sobers, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Botham et al, gained a place on the honours board at Lord’s denied the great Shane Warne and returned the best figures by an England offspinner at Trent Bridge since 1956. It can’t keep being dismissed as an aberration, can it?

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