Learn as Fast as Moeen Ali with These Spin Tips | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Learn as Fast as Moeen Ali with These Spin Tips

Alistair Cook called England all-rounder Moeen Ali the fastest learner that he has ever played with. England's spinning sensation has gone from barely-used in his debut to take 19 wickets in the series against India.

So what exactly is it that Moeen has learnt?


Bowl at the right pace

"You need to up your pace at this level, lad!"

Ian Bell offered constructive feedback to his new team mate. He informed Ali that he needed to up his pace at International level in order to make things happen, to reduce the decision making time and pressurise opposition batters.

Since that feedback - ahead of the Southampton Test - Ali has been touching 55mph rather than flirting with 50mph which was his 'county pace'. At slower paces, Ali was being pulled from relatively good lengths. The likes of Jayawardene and Sangrakkara had more than enough time to rock back and hammer the ball over mid wicket.

Fast forward to August and the same length delivery is causing Dhoni and co all sorts of problems. Ali has adjusted his pace to survive and thrive in his new environment.

But that's not the only reason why he has developed so quickly.

Keep the revs, adjust the seam angle

I was encouraged by Ali in the Sri Lanka series. He had one of the most important elements of spin bowling: revolutions on the ball.

Moeen regularly bowled the ball with over 2200 rpm (far more than his opposite number, Rangana Herath) in that series, yet found it difficult to create any deception either through the air or off of the pitch. Ali's seam angle was very square to the pitch as it flew through the air. He bowled with pure side spin.

This meant that he was losing the ability to drift the ball in the air, dip the ball extravagantly on its curve to the batter and to get excessive bounce from the surface.

The combination of side spin and top spin is vital at the top level and Moeen needed to adjust something in his grip or wrist position at release to facilitate a more optimal seam angle. I mentioned this to Head Coach Peter Moores after the Sri Lanka Test Series. It's been great to see the results of some excellent interventions that the England Coaching staff have put in place.

The seam angle for Ali's stock ball is now on an axis that encourages increased top spin. His dismissal of Jadeja in the Old Trafford Test was a great example of those adjustments. Drift, dip, bounce and enough side spin to hit the shoulder of the bat and loop to slip.

Change your strategy, change your luck

Mushtaq Ahmad always says,

"If things aren't working for you, the first thing that should change is your field and strategy."

This is exactly what Ali, Cook and Moores have done. There is little change to left handed batters, he has just got more skilful. Yet to right handers, the introduction of a leg slip and the increase in pace has encouraged Ali to shift to a straighter line. Both edges come into play and any misjudgement of length threatens the stumps or pads.

I love a leg slip; and now so does Moeen Ali!

Can these 3 points spark similar accelerated learning in your spinners?

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"He bowled with pure side spin.

This meant that he was losing the ability to drift the ball in the air"

eh? Topspin induces dip, sidespin induces drift. The optimum combination is to use a bit of both to produce both at once.

But a ball with pure side spin will drift plenty.

Excellent article Garras.

There are several reasons for Moeen's success.

Spinners that bowl with greater side spin generally need to 'bowl the ball into the wicket'. The reason being to create pace off the deck (a la Panesar) Spinners that get decent overspin can afford to bowl slightly slower as they inherently get more pace off the pitch as result. When bowling with more side spin, the ball generally 'sits up' if the length is anything other than impeccable, hence being pulled and or cut!

Essentially, the ideal release is a combination of both side and over spin. Personally, I think that Moeen has a very decent action that creates torque (hence decent revs) and is generally upright with an excellent release. What Moeen has done well the last 2 tests is his ability to read the pitch and bowl the ball (quicker) in to it to get the better reaction 'from the way he bowls'. As a top class spinner, it is imperative to have the ability to be able to adapt to conditions that you are presented with and find the pace that suits your style. Generally on a wearing pitch that is offering assistance, bowling the ball quicker is a lot harder to play. Obviously, Moeen is at the very beginning of what will hopefully be a very long and successful career. He is learning all the time and this was optimised during the last 2 tests, as he worked out the right pace to bowl for him.

Finally, it's always easier bowling spin when you have plenty of runs to play with, scoreboard pressure changes the way we bowl in terms of setting attacking fields against batters (creating pressure) and also the way batters play as a result! It allows us to be more proactive and given that England have got a few runs r
of late, this should also not be forgotten!

Absolutely right Flinty, spinners definitely need the batters to build that scoreboard pressure, it also helps the captain. This has been the case with Cookie in the last 2 games where the batters have allowed him to be more creative and patient with Moeen. The confidence that Mo has developed as a result has been evident for all to see.

It's just been great to see someone develop so quickly with what is still a developing second string. Not a bad start to a test career though eh! Played a brilliant almost-match saving ton only 4 games ago and now contributing significantly to England wins with the ball. Chuck in his run out too boot and I think we can tell that Mo is very much at home in his new environment.

Test cricket either exposes or makes cricketers and in Moeens case his ability and character have allowed him to make the transition relatively quickly. I'm a big fan.

Bad ball tends to be dropped short any tips how to fix it , im an off spinner.

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