ENG vs PAK | I have a bits and pieces role but I see myself as a useful utility player, claims Moeen Ali

Moeen Ali, on the back of his Man of the Match display in Leeds on Sunday, admitted that his role in the T20 side leans towards him being a bits and pieces player, but asserted that he is happy to contribute to the side in any way. Moeen admitted that spending time on the bench can be frustrating.

With captain Morgan rested, Moeen Ali was given a gig up the order, at No.4, at Headingley in the 2nd T20I on Sunday, and the all-rounder repaid the faith shown in him by blasting a 16-ball 36 that set the tone for England to post 200 and eventually win the match. Having not batted above No.5 in T20Is since 2015, the promotion for Moeen came as a surprise, but the 34-year-old made the most of his opportunity to stake a claim to be a permanent fixture up the order.

Despite the cameo on Sunday, however, Moeen’s role in the side remains unclear, but the veteran is not losing sleep over it. Speaking post the game, Moeen admitted that England see him as a utility/bits-and-pieces player, but stressed that he is more than happy to contribute, regardless of where he bats or how much he bowls.

“I’ve not really spoken to Morgan about it (my role). He said earlier in the summer that he wanted to see other players like Livingstone. The role I have is bits and pieces, but sometimes I’ll pop up the order,” Moeen said on Sunday.

“I do see myself as a utility player – if needed I’ll go up the order, if not I can still contribute from down the order. It’s about staying confident and doing well when your chance comes.”

Both Malan and Roy perishing before the 3rd over meant that Moeen got the opportunity to exploit the field restrictions, and the southpaw made the most out of the chance, bludgeoning his way to 24 off 11 balls by the end of the 6th over. Moeen termed the opportunity to bat up the order as a ‘great’ one.

“Getting an opportunity up the order is great.  When you go up the order you have the chance to bat in the powerplay, and I had a nice partnership with Jos to take it to the bowlers.”

However, it was not just with the bat that the all-rounder starred. Summoned to bowl 3 overs spin on a turning Headingley track, the off-spinner accounted for the wickets of the dangerous Hafeez and Zaman, and crippled the visitors through a double-strike in the 13th over of the chase. Moeen revealed that he focused on giving the ball a good rip, and claimed that he was ‘lucky’ to have been asked to bowl when the track was turning.

“I really tried to spin the ball, and the other two spinners were really great and I was lucky enough to bowl when the wicket was turning.”

Despite the MOTM showing on Sunday, though, it has been a frustrating 2021 for Moeen, who has only batted thrice in T20Is this year, while bowling a total of 23 balls. The veteran admitted that not getting opportunities can be frustrating, but insisted that he has now learned to deal with setbacks better, with him maturing with age.

“Of course it can be frustrating. Also have to take in the fact that I’ve come on the back of a very nice IPL, and you don’t want to lose that confidence.

“Sometimes in the past I might have let it mentally affect me – in terms of not playing –  but now, with me older and wiser, it’s just about playing well and feeling more confident. It’s not been easy, the whole summer I think I’ve played 9 times. You just wanna keep playing and keep finding form,” the 34-year-old said.

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