Moeen Ali counting on Worcestershire for rhythm

James Anderson and Moeen Ali of England head on to the field at Headingley. Picture: Getty Images
James Anderson and Moeen Ali of England head on to the field at Headingley. Picture: Getty Images
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Moeen Ali has vowed to grind his way into England’s Ashes line-up by grafting for rhythm in the next five weeks with Worcestershire.

The 27-year-old admitted he was “disappointed” but “can understand” England’s decision to rest him for the five-match one-day series against New Zealand that starts next week.

Instead of turning out for England, Moeen will return to the county circuit and the off-spinning all-rounder is determined not to waste any time as he seeks to bowl his way back to top form in time for the summer’s Ashes battle against Australia.

“Personally I’d love to play in all forms of the game, so I was obviously disappointed because I’d love to play in the New Zealand series,” Moeen said.

“But I can understand what they have done, and now I’ll go and play county cricket, and I’ve got five weeks to go and help Worcester win some matches.

“That will take my mind off international cricket, but obviously it will still be in the back of my mind.

“I’ve got to concentrate on what I need to do to be ready for the Ashes. I’ll just go and play how I normally play and hopefully if I do that I’ll perform. So I’ll go out and play, and enjoy it.”

Moeen suffered a side strain against Bangladesh at the World Cup on 9 March, ruling him out of initial selection for the West Indies tour.

The former Warwickshire man believes he is only now moving fully past that problem, and hopes to capitalise on being restored to full fitness.

“England just said ‘look, we’re going to rest you to get ready for the Ashes’ really,” said Moeen.

“They want me to get my bowling right for the Tests, so hopefully I can get some rhythm in red ball cricket now.

“With some bowling under my belt hopefully I can get some confidence, to really focus for the Ashes. It’s definitely about rhythm. Since my injury I’ve probably not bowled as much as I had done previously so it’s not been as easy to go straight into Test cricket off the back of not bowling so much.

“So definitely finding my rhythm will help.

“Hopefully in these five weeks I can spend every day bowling now, get my rhythm and even in practice just bowl, bowl, bowl and hopefully I can really move that forward and come the Ashes I’ll be ready to perform.

“Hopefully you get to the point where with enough repetition and sticking with it suddenly everything just clicks.

“So I’ll just keep plugging away to make sure I can find that rhythm that I need.”

Warwickshire seamer Chris Woakes, meanwhile, has revealed he remains a few weeks away from full fitness after a minor setback in his recovery from knee trouble.

The 26-year-old suffered his current problem at the World Cup and has been sidelined since mid-March.

“I’m not far off, I had a second team game last week, which unfortunately didn’t go as well as I would have liked,” Woakes said.

“So it will be another couple of weeks, but hopefully I’ll be fully fit pretty soon.

“It’s quite frustrating, seeing the boys play as well once the summer starts.

“I just need to get myself back fit for Warwickshire first, put in some performances there and then hopefully put myself in contention again for England.”