Cricket

2019 Cricket World Cup: A ‘century’ moment for Moeen

Better talent! Moeen Ali’s father Munir is convinced that his son is a better batsman than a spinner and deserves more opportunities up the order.

Better talent! Moeen Ali’s father Munir is convinced that his son is a better batsman than a spinner and deserves more opportunities up the order.  

The allrounder’s father feels England has not utilised his batting skills well

The last few days have been busy for Munir Ali. Caught up in the cacophony of paint cans and contractors as he remodelled his Birmingham home, the fact that his son Moeen Ali achieved a career milestone on Friday slipped his mind.

“Oh, it’s his 100th ODI, is it?” the sexagenarian asked as Moeen took the field against Sri Lanka in a World Cup fixture on Friday.

“It completely skipped my mind,” he said. “We could not be present at Headingley for his special match, but I am so happy for him. What a journey it has been.”

Only regret

While he is happy with the way Moeen has fared so far, Munir’s only regret has been that England has not utilised his batting skills well.

“He is not being given a fixed batting spot. I still feel he is a better batsman than a spinner. But now people say he has become a bowler who can bat,” he said, adding, “He has batted up the order in Tests and has scored runs, so they should give him more opportunities up the order.”

Even though Munir has never played top-level cricket, the sport runs in the family. Apart from Moeen, two of his other sons — Kadeer and Omar — are county cricketers. Nephew Kabir played one Test match for England, while another nephew, Aatif, also plays county cricket.

Having seen so many cricketers in the family, Munir reveals that Moeen’s calmness makes him stand out.

“A bad game doesn’t worry him. If it’s a bad game, it is a bad game. He looks forward to the good day. He doesn’t lose his sleep if he struggles on the field on a particular day…”

Give me two years

But on his son’s special day, Munir also remembers those days when he had asked a young Moeen for ‘two years of his life’.

“He always had the talent. It was about being successful at the highest level. When he was 13 years old, I told him, ‘you give me two years of your life and I will give you the rest of your life’. He didn’t understand then, but the next two years saw him not going out with friends, no socialising. The entire focus was on cricket.”

In two years’ time, he got a youth county contract at Warwickshire but later moved to Worcestershire to expand his horizons.

Clearly, there hasn’t been any looking back since.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 6:43:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/2019-cricket-world-cup-a-century-moment-for-moeen/article28102567.ece

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