All hands to pump for Ali

Daily Express - - SPORT -

GRAEME SWANN be­lieves Moeen Ali can drive Eng­land on to vic­tory this win­ter – as long as they can “pump up his tyres”.

Moeen has 44 Test caps to his name, though his bowl­ing av­er­age of 37.32 is high for a front-line spin­ner. But fel­low off-spin­ner Swann says Eng­land just need to show him more faith. “He re­ally can bowl but he still doesn’t be­lieve it,” said Swann, a BT Sport Ashes pun­dit for all five Tests.

“If he doesn’t get a wicket straight away, you can see the con­fi­dence drain from him. Eng­land haven’t ac­tu­ally nailed how to treat Moeen yet and how to pump up his tyres. He needs some­one con­stantly telling him how good he is be­cause he’s world class when he wants to be.”

The Eng­land cap­tain is tra­di­tion­ally sin­gled out by the Aus­tralians be­fore any se­ries. But Root is not only look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge but also took the chance to take aim at the war of words be­ing waged by the hosts.

David Warner got things started be­fore the tourists had even ar­rived Down Un­der, the Aus­tralia opener liken­ing the Ashes to “war” and ad­mit­ting he geed him­self up by fos­ter­ing “ha­tred” to­wards Eng­land’s play­ers.

Plenty has been said since, with a suc­ces­sion of Aussies say­ing they will tar­get Root dur­ing the se­ries that starts at the Gabba to­mor­row week.

But Root, who fin­ished the last se­ries at home two years ago – which Eng­land won 3-2 – as his side’s lead­ing run­scorer, said: “I just want the first Test to come round. It has been such a long wait. There has been a lot of talk, some of it ex­cit­ing and some of it a load of rub­bish, es­pe­cially from some of the Aussie play­ers.

“I’ve heard a lot of chat about tar­get­ing me, in par­tic­u­lar. From our point of view, we’ll be tar­get­ing ev­ery sin­gle one of them – we won’t be sin­gling any­one out. Of course we’ll have plans in place for each in­di­vid­ual player, but bring it on. It’s what it’s about. It should be a great se­ries.”

The 26-year-old knows he will be in the crosshairs of Aus­tralia’s play­ers and fans alike. But when asked ex­actly what he thought be­ing tar­geted meant, Root said: “I don’t re­ally know – you go into ev­ery se­ries

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