Steve Harmison backs Moeen Ali for England recall ahead of first West Indies Test

England have been urged to pick Moeen Ali for the first Test against West Indies
England have been urged to pick Moeen Ali for the first Test against West Indies (Picture: Getty)

 

Steve Harmison believes England should recall Moeen Ali for the first Test against West Indies.

Moeen’s last Test appearance came in the opening Test of last summer’s Ashes series, in which he contributed just four runs and struggled with the ball.

After losing his place in the side and his England Test contract, Moeen took a break from the longest format, missing England’s winter tours to New Zealand and South Africa.

The 33-year-old was also set to miss the series in Sri Lanka – which never started due to the coronavirus pandemic – but confirmed in April he felt ready to return to Test cricket.

Last week, Moeen was named in England’s 30-man training group ahead of the West Indies opener at the Ageas Bowl, alongside fellow spinners Jack Leach, Dom Bess, Amar Virdi and Matt Parkinson.

Harmison believes Surrey’s Virdi could play a big role for England in the future but said he would select Moeen as the team’s spinner for the first Test against the Windies.

‘I like Virdi being in there, I really like Virdi being in there, because he’s one that England need to potentially develop in the spin bowling department,’ Harmison said on the Wisden Cricket Monthly podcast.

Former England bowler Steve Harmison
Former England bowler Steve Harmison (Picture: Getty)

 

‘Dom Bess did well in South Africa – I was out in South Africa for talkSPORT – you had troubles with Jack Leach which is disappointing for Jack and hopefully he’s come over them.

‘But Moeen Ali comes back and for me, he plays at Southampton. If I’ve got a 30-man squad, I’m picking my best team, Moeen Ali’s in my best team, I play him.’

Last week, England national selector Ed Smith hailed the availability of Moeen ahead of a summer in which Pakistan are also due to tour England.

He said: ‘In a number of conversations over the winter, and also more recently, Moeen has indicated he wants to be considered for selection in all formats and he’s available for selection. That’s good news.

‘As a selector we always want the most amount of talent to pick from so we’re pleased Moeen is available again.

‘One thing I’ve always felt as a selector is that it’s always good news if you increase the talent pool – whether that’s Adil Rashid returning to Test cricket or Moeen Ali saying he’s available for Test cricket again.

‘Moeen is a valued member of the England set-up and across formats he’s been a significant contributor.’

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