Cape Town club cricketers: Moeen Ali lacked variations

Moeen Ali St Augustine Cricket ClubFile image: Ali playing for St Augustine Cricket Club.

Club Cricket SA chatted to a few cricketers, who played with or against England Test spinner Moeen Ali, during his successful stints with St Augustine Cricket Club in the Western Province Cricket Association first division A (now first division B) several years ago.

“At the time, he had only just been selected for the England Lions team. He never bowled much, if at all, for Worcestershire. He was only really needed in the longer format to give the seamers a rest. So, his focus wasn’t that much on bowling, but he could do a job. He had good drift and loop. He was a fantastic fielder and very destructive batsman for us. He wasn’t the hardest to keep wicket to because he didn’t have many variations.” – former St Augustine Cricket Club wicketkeeper Rory O’Brien.

I really enjoyed bowling in tandem with him. He has always had the ability to put a lot of revolutions on the ball. His bowling contributions were really good for St Augustine, but were obviously overshadowed by his major batting contributions. He scored several centuries in half a season for us once. His bowling has obviously been raised a level or two since becoming a Test player. He is slightly quicker through the air now, than he was with us, and from what I can see, he is spinning the ball even more now. – former St Augustine Cricket Club leg-spinner Phil Reid.

“We definitely viewed him as a batting all-rounder. He didn’t have many major variations, but he had great consistency and variation in flight. He didn’t strike us as a Test level bowler at the time, but he used the conditions well. When he bowled into heavy wind, he varied his pace a bit. He got a lot of wickets by putting the pressure on the batsmen – as opposed to outclassing anyone.” – former Cape Town Cricket Club and current Claremont Cricket Club batsman Mark Hendricks.

“I remember from a game against us, he was a very humble and quiet guy. He bowled about half of St Augustine’s overs, got a good few wickets – and then chased down about 260-odd to win the match for them.” – Durbanville Cricket Club veteran Bob Homani.

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