Moeen Ali’s backlift v Moeen Ali’s follow-through

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Few England players have deployed the long handle as delightfully as Moeen Ali. But which element is the more lovely – his backlift or his follow-through?

Like all sentient humans, we make a point of devoting one day each month to appreciation of Brian Lara’s backlift. A byproduct of this is that we sometimes find ourself pondering the best of the rest. And that’s how we ended up watching a bunch of videos of Moeen Ali slogging fours and sixes.

We’re not quite sure where Moeen Ali’s ranks in the pantheon of backlifts, but it’s pretty high up when it comes to England players.

We can think of a few other memorable ones – Paul Collingwood simply not bothering or Jos Buttler’s intimidatingly mechanical thing, which is kind of like one of those slightly-too-fast-moving robots they use to build cars – but it’s hard to think of a nicer one.

But then as we were watching Moeen’s velvety annihilation, it occurred to us that sometimes his follow-through was just as majestic. And then we thought, ‘which is the more majestic?’

Now this is a dumb question because what we’re basically doing is comparing Point A to Point B when the transportation of the entity from A to B is the truly important bit. That’s where the real magic lies; that ostensibly simple journey that must nevertheless overcome all manner of challenges and obstacles, such as attrition, gravity, mischief, calamity, incompetence, erosion, contraction, expansion and buffoonery.

It is always difficult to get from A to B. But we’re assessing after the fact here, once such a journey has already successfully been made. In that scenario, which is better, Moeen Ali’s backlift or Moeen Ali’s follow-through? Let’s compare these two key elements bookending the structural dynamics of flow.

The classic Moeen Ali backlift

Yeah, okay, maybe technically a backswing, but can we please not get into that? Focus instead on the potential energy; the unignorable announcement of the honeyed whiplash that is to come.

Moeen Ali’s club to cow corner follow-through

Not his finest follow-through – it collapses just a touch towards the end – but we do like the raised front foot which clearly indicates there was never any intention of keeping this one down.

Moeen Ali’s spin-slogging backlift

This is a bit squattier and less satisfying as a result. However…

Moeen Ali’s spin-slogged follow-through

Just look at that. And he isn’t even finished yet.

That, friends, is a follow-through.

Moeen Ali’s patient backlift

The starting point for this one can be seen in the still at the top of this article. We wanted to include this shot as well though to show how close the ball gets before Moeen starts conveying bat from A to B. This was off South Africa’s Andile Phelukwayo, who is not particularly quick, but is also not a spinner.

Moeen Ali’s straight bat follow-through

And this is where he ends up. Phwooar.

Just look at the geometry of it.

That follow-through is well fit.


We’re swayed by the variety and panache of Moeen Ali’s follow-throughs, but then surely part of the allure of the backlift is that there is a follow-through still to come.

We can’t separate them. You can’t move from A to B without A or B. You need both.

At this point it would be pretty cool if you could head to the part of our site where we keep all our longer, more meandering articles – the ones you can really sink into. These are funded by a Patreon campaign that we’d very much like you to take a look at, even if you don’t actually end up contributing to it.


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  1. Disappointed to read that Hoggard seems to be as unpleasant a person as Vaughan.

    (also Bresnan I guess, but I’m less surprised there)

  2. Moeen Ali’s back! As in “backlift”…

    …he won’t follow through with an absence of Ankylosing spondylitis or anything like that.

  3. Well, my excitement was building up as I read through but the anticlimactic ending left a lot to be desired. (I myself was rooting for the follow through to be declared the more beautiful element). So I did what any rational human being would do and turned to ChatGPT. Woe is me – the damn thing is no better than KC. I reproduce the Q&A below.

    Deep Cower: Few England players have deployed the long handle as delightfully as Moeen Ali. But which element is the more lovely – his backlift or his follow-through?

    ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I don’t have personal preferences or opinions, but I can tell you that both the backlift and follow-through of Moeen Ali are essential elements of his batting technique and contribute to the beauty of his shots.

    Moeen Ali’s backlift is a thing of beauty in itself. He has a graceful, high backlift that allows him to generate immense power in his shots. It also gives him a lot of time to adjust his stroke-making and play shots on the back foot.

    On the other hand, Moeen Ali’s follow-through is equally impressive. He often holds his pose after playing a shot, and his fluid, flowing motion gives the impression that he is almost dancing as he completes his stroke. His follow-through is a testament to his perfect timing, balance, and control.

    Overall, both Moeen Ali’s backlift and follow-through contribute to his unique style of batting, and it’s difficult to say which one is more lovely. However, together, they make his batting a joy to watch.

    1. Unanimous. [Goes to fist bump ChatGPT before realising it is without fists. Delivers an awkward, half-hearted air punch intended to convey triumph instead.]

      1. I’m thinking that I should now switch at least half of my KC Patreon contribution to ChatGPT.

        Fair’s fair after all. It would be impossible for me to discern who deserves it most and who needs it most now.

      2. I have just asked ChatGPT to advise in this matter.

        Ged: “My friend, “King Cricket” writes interesting articles about cricket. I contribute some money each month to help him pursue that avocation. This week, King Cricket’s article was very similar indeed to an article you, ChatGPT, wrote at the behest of a mutual friend. Should I now split my financial contribution between the two of you? If so, what would be a fair share? 50%/50% is the first thought that comes to mind, but I wonder whether, in these unusual circumstances, a different method of division would be in order. Please advise.”

        ChatGPT responded thus: “It’s great to hear that you’re supporting your friend “King Cricket” in pursuing his passion for writing about cricket. Regarding your question, it’s important to consider a few factors before making a decision.

        “Firstly, it’s worth talking to both King Cricket and ChatGPT to understand the circumstances surrounding the similarities in their articles. It’s possible that they worked together or drew inspiration from each other’s work, in which case it may not be fair to split your contribution evenly.

        “Assuming that the similarities were coincidental, a fair approach would be to split your contribution evenly between the two of them. However, if you feel that one of them contributed more value to your life or has a greater need for financial support, you may adjust the split accordingly.

        “Ultimately, the decision on how to divide your contribution should be based on your personal values and priorities, as well as your relationship with King Cricket and ChatGPT.”

        Hmmm, I guess I’lll have to give the matter a great deal more thought for myself.

  4. Moeen is my fave. All elements relating to him are equally awesome.

    That T20 hundred down at Hove?

    Oooosh. Almost made me follow through. etc

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