‘India would not like facing him’ – Monty Panesar backs Moeen Ali to play the opening Test in Chennai

The 33-year-old Moeen has 181 Test wickets from 60 matches.

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Moeen Ali
England spinner Moeen Ali celebrates. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Monty Panesar, the former England cricketer, reckons that the Brits should field Moeen Ali ahead of Dominic Bess for the opening Test, starting February 5 against India at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Moeen hasn’t played Test cricket since August 2019 after the Birmingham Test against Australia in the Ashes. He, however, was picked for the recent Tests against Sri Lanka.

But upon reaching the island, he was tested positive for COVID-19 and he couldn’t take part in any of the two Tests. Nevertheless, he managed to recover and is part of the Three Lions’ squad for the four-match Test series against Virat Kohli and Co.

Panesar had Moeen’s back, saying that India don’t like facing the off-spinner. Panesar was of the opinion that the home team would be happier facing Bess and Jack Leach.

Moeen Ali is fresh and hungry: Monty Panesar

Jack Leach is likely to play since India have a lot of right-handers and I will pick Moeen Ali over Dom Bess as the off-spinner in the eleven as he has done well in India and has the required experience. He can also bat.

“Having not played in Sri Lanka, Ali is fresh and hungry. India would not like facing Ali; they would be happy facing Leach and Bess,” Panesar was quoted as saying in India Today.

Panesar also had some words of advice for the spinners on how to succeed in Indian conditions. The retired tweaker said that imparting enough revs and flight on the ball could do the trick for the England spinners.

“They should be aiming to bowl good length but how it is getting there also matters. Bowling too flat will make things easy for the batter, so I would flight the ball. The margin of error also increases if you flight the ball on a good length,” Panesar quipped.

“Give the ball some air and bring the batsman forward. You can bowl arm balls and cross seamers to mix things up but not too frequently especially when the ball is soft,” he added.

The 33-year-old Moeen has 181 Test wickets from 60 matches with 11 four-wicket hauls, five five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket hauls.

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