David Lloyd: Moeen Ali more useful at No8 than as opener

David Lloyd 19:37 31/10/2015
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The former England batsman and coach doesn't believe Moeen is a genuine opener.

All eyes are on the team for England, they might just make a change or two.

England tend not to change too much. I can tell you now what the pitch is going to be like – flat – any flatter then it’ll be in an envelope.

So England have got a lot of work to do to level the series. They might change wicket-keeper Jos Buttler to get James Taylor into the team.

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It’ll be a batter I should think who’ll come into the side. If you listen to the interviews from Alastair Cook – he’s saying that the batting collapses in the middle order are happening too often.

So what you’d expect from that is they may think about freshening it up and getting another player in, and that to me will be James Taylor.

I think he looks a real busy player and a proactive player against spin, and of course England will have to face a lot of spin.

But England have also got other option: they’ve got Moeen Ali at the top of the innings, and it’s only my opinion, but I don’t think he’s an opening batsman.

I think he’s absolutely brilliant down the order around that seven, eight position against spin. I think he’d be a real asset for England there but they obviously, and I understand why, see it differently.

When Moeen opens the batting it allows them to play another bowler, i.e. Mark Wood in these conditions when it’s unbelievably hot, but his ankle problem opens the door for another change, probably Liam Plunkett.

There’s an option there that they might change that and something else they might do is put Ian Bell opening and then that allows Mooen to drop down to seven or eight where he’ll be useful.

You look at Ian Bell and he’s just treading water at the minute.

In two Test matches against Pakistan he’s not scored big but is averaging 40.

I wouldn’t bet against Bell getting a big hundred because he’s capable and he’s got the conditions. If he’s got his eye in, and he’s had some good knocks, it’s there but he just has to spend a little bit more time out in the middle.

For England I think it’s absolutely imperative – they need all the help they can get – they need to win the toss and bat first.

It’s not happened so far as Misbah-ul-Haq has won the toss but England have got to win the toss and bat first and bat big. Misbah and Younis Khan have so much experience playing in these conditions.

And when they batted together in Dubai I thought it was an exhibition of how to play on those pitches. They both make big strides, huge strides at the crease.

Younis stood a good two foot outside of his ground and was going forward all the time, staying in that sideways position. I thought it was brilliant to watch two golden oldies using all their nous and all their experience. That’s how you do it out here.

David Bumble Lloyd was talking to Sport360° at the Icons of Cricket 2016 promotional golf Emirates Golf Club Pro-Am event hosted by Sofitel Dubai Downtown.

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