Moeen Ali has praised Eoin Morgan's backing for his resurgence in form after a long slump. The all-rounder, who made an exceptional 61 in the third T20I against Pakistan, has also admitted that the 'outside noise' had got to him but now, all he wants is to keep enjoying playing for England.
International cricket can be cruel at times with the intense scrutiny it brings from the media and above all, the expectation to keep performing day in day out for your country, no matter what. English all-rounder Moeen Ali had his fair share of struggles this summer as he had made just 10 runs in four innings, failing to reach a double-figure score even once until yesterday against Pakistan in the third T20I at Old Trafford. He batted like the gifted player he is, to make 61 off just 33 balls and bring England close to winning the T20I series, which ultimately ended in a five-run defeat for the hosts.
The 33-year-old felt 'nice' spending good time in the middle and said it wouldn't have been possible if not for the 'backing' of Eoin Morgan, who he rates as one of the best captains he has ever played under. Moeen asserted that it means a lot to him that skipper Morgan thinks 'highly of him'.
"It was nice to spend time and get some runs under my belt. I haven't played that well for a good period of time now. A lot of credit should go to Eoin Morgan. He's given me the responsibility in terms of being the vice-captain and doing team talks here and there. To get that backing from the captain... it's one of the reasons he's the best captain I've had. He gives me a lot of confidence. I haven't played well for a good period of time now and for my captain to think highly of me, for me that means a lot," Moeen said, after Pakistan ended leveling the three-match T20I series 1-1 against England, reported Cricbuzz.
Remarkably, Ali's 61 against Pakistan was his highest score in international cricket since September 2017, when he blasted 102 runs in 57 balls against the West Indies in an ODI game. The Birmingham-born cricketer stated that he felt special when Morgan entrusted him with the responsibility of giving a pep talk to the team.
"Morgan came up to me and said 'Would you like to give the team-talk?' It makes me feel responsible and a big part of the team. I have to back what I say as well, so I can't give the boys inspiration if I can't do it myself. It makes me feel quite special among the boys and a big part of this team," quipped the English all-rounder.
Moeen also revealed how outside noise impacted his game adversely and he made it a point to go off the social media for sometime and has even stopped reading anything good or bad written about him in the press.
"Sometimes I would think about what other people think of me.I know it's only one game and I'm not going to get too far ahead, but I won't read what you guys (the press) write or what everyone else writes in general."
Batting in lower-middle-order is one of the difficult arts in limited-overs cricket. It often means you have to try and up the ante, play selfless cricket and even lose your wicket in the pursuit of that. The seasoned all-rounder also underlined how difficult it is to bat lower down the order, especially when you are out of form and expected to help the team cross the line.
"I actually think batting at six, seven and eight is probably the hardest place to bat in white-ball cricket because you are dictated by the pace of the game. That can be quite difficult. Your job is to win games and when you are not in the form that you want to be in, it can be even harder than what it looks like," Moeen said.