Moeen Ali has defended the choice of stroke that led to his dismissal in Edinburgh and vowed not to change the way he plays.
Moeen appeared to have taken England to the brink of victory over Scotland with a fluent innings of 46 when, with 25 more required from the final 28 deliveries of the match, he tried to thrash a six and was caught on the long-on boundary; the eighth wicket to fall. It seemed an unnecessary risk from England’s last front-line batsman.
But Moeen insisted it was the right choice of stroke and he wasn’t going to allow “negativity” to change the way he plays.
“The ball was there to hit and I just mis-hit it,” Moeen said. “I’d hit two or three for six. When they are going for six and you’re playing well, everyone is trying to big you up. Mis-hit one, get out and all the negative people come out.
“I could have knocked it for one, but then Liam Plunkett would have been on strike and could have been out. Then Adil Rashid could have been out. And then you’re in the same position.
“From my point of view, it’s best not to have any sort of doubt. I have to stay true to myself; don’t doubt myself.
“When I went out of the Test side, I sat down and realised that you have to be true to yourself. I’d rather get dropped playing the way I want to play rather than playing the way people want me to play. So that’s what I’m going to do.
“I’m going to stay true to myself and not worry about what people say. There is a lot of negativity around. Scotland played really well, we couldn’t stop them from scoring runs and they made it really hard for us and they deserved to win.”
Moeen also insisted he was growing into the ‘finisher’ role that and it is true that, a little after he came to the crease with the score on 276 for 7, England were in deep trouble. A stand of 71 with Plunkett appeared to have put England back on course
“We were struggling big time but Liam and myself got us back in the game,” he said. “I feel good in my game: batting and bowling. I want to try to stick to my mindset and not let anyone change that.”
If there was any lesson from the Edinburgh experience it was, perhaps, that England may not have the strength in depth they thought. Certainly Ben Stokes, who would have played in place of Alex Hales, and Chris Woakes, who would have played in front of David Willey, were sorely missed.
Without a frontline sixth bowler – England did have the option to try Joe Root in Scotland, but were persuaded not to bowl him by the short boundaries – they had no insurance option should one of the main bowlers have an off day. As it transpired, pretty much all five of them did. They may also have missed Woakes’ calm head in the run-chase.
“I always feel you’re better off having six bowlers in one-day cricket,” Moeen said. “The best thing is that Stokesy bats in your top six. If you can have two guys in the top six who bowl, I think you’re sitting pretty with the balance of the team.”
“It was a very good game in the end. They scored a lot of runs that we had to try to chase. It was a small ground and we should have chased them. Good for Scotland, bad for us.”