All hands to pump for Ali
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