ADELAIDE (Reuters) - England all-rounder Moeen Ali is a doubt for the second Ashes test against Australia as he struggles to recover from a cut on his index finger, captain Joe Root said on Friday.
Moeen, whose bowling was affected by the cut during England’s 10-wicket defeat at the Gabba, would probably be retained as a batsman at Adelaide Oval in the match starting Saturday even if were unable to bowl, said Root.
“We’ll have another look at things after practice and see how he is then and see if there’s any more damage to it and then we’ll have to make a decision from there,” Root told reporters at Adelaide Oval.
“His batting’s been a huge part of our team for a long period of time now so I think he would still play as a batter.
“He’s a top class batter and he’s someone who has the potential to go on and become one of the best batters in the world.”
The skipper did not rule out a potential debut for 20-year-old legspinner Mason Crane, though.
“I think we’ll have to look at the situation with Moeen, see how bad it is, look at the conditions but it’s definitely not out of the question,” Root added.
Root said it was still too early to confirm a team for the match but one certain inclusion was former captain Alastair Cook, despite a meagre return of nine runs from two innings at the Gabba.
“Cookie is a world-class act,” said Root. “He’s scored over 11,000 test runs, he’s been one of our most consistent performers for over 10 years. He’s not had the ideal start to the series, but ... I’m not going to lose any sleep over him.
“I’m pretty sure that during this series he’s going to make a massive contributions and he’s going to perform really well for us.”
With England 1-0 down in the series, Root took some comfort from the damp “English” conditions that he thought might favour the tourists in the first day-night Ashes test.
“(But) I think it’s really important that we don’t get too excited about that,” he cautioned.
“We just need to make sure we perform like we did in the first three days of the first test match for the whole game.
“If we do that and recognise the key moments of the game then we give ourselves the best chance of winning.”
Additional reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Greg Stutchbury