Moeen Ali has been appointed as the vice-captain of the English Test side ahead of the fourth Test against India starting on Thursday at The Oval. The decision to appoint Ali as the deputy to Captain Joe Root was taken after regular vice-captain Jos Buttler was given paternity break for the birth of his second child.
Ali seemed quite excited about his new role. He spoke to the reporters on the eve of the match on various matters and India’s decision to leave R Ashwin out of the first three matches was one of those topics. While he agreed that Ashwin’s omission in this series has been quite surprising for him, he also praised his Chennai Super Kings teammate, calling him as one of his favourite players.
“Most grounds in England spin a little bit anyway, some obviously more than others but there’s always a bit of spin. Ashwin… yeah, I think a little bit maybe. I also feel Jadeja is an amazing cricketer; one of my favourite cricketers in the world. I would always have him in my team no matter what. India after winning at Lord’s would have gone ahead with four seamers. I thought he did a great job. I’m sure Ashwin has been and will be considered going in tomorrow,” Ali said in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old also spoke in detail about his new role. The excitement on his face was visible and he also called this role a huge honour for him. He thinks that this added responsibility on him is going to bring the best out of him and his team as a whole.
“It’s amazing. To captain or vice-captain England in any form is huge and I’m very excited. I’m obviously not hoping for Joe to go off the field but if he does go off, I’m looking forward to the role,” Ali added.
“That’s the beauty of sport in one way but I also know that Jos would have done it if I weren’t. Things can change quickly and to be given the role is great. I do speak a lot to the players and we bounce ideas off each other.”
Ali has many fond memories of playing against India. He has bowled match-winning spells for them and has played some defining knocks. The series is now equally poised at 1-1 after three matches and Ali will be looking to deliver his best here to help the home team take the lead in the series going into the final match.