Moeen Ali has said England’s 10-wicket hammering against India on the back of their 2-1 defeat in last week’s Twenty20 series may be good for the team in the long term, with the side learning more in defeat than in victory.
“We’ve lost a few games, which is good for us, I think, moving forward,” said Moeen after he and his teammates were bowled out for 110 inside 26 overs. “Then hopefully closer to the [T20] World Cup [in Australia in October] we start winning. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to win now. But you don’t want to win all the games, in my opinion. It’s a good thing that sometimes you learn more from losing.”
This has proved to be a difficult learning period for England’s new white-ball captain, Jos Buttler. After the success of his predecessor, Eoin Morgan, who lifted the 2019 50-over World Cup, a level of expectation has been cultivated amongst the England players and supporters. Moeen, though, is backing Buttler to come good.
“He’ll be fine, the team will be fine, there’s no need to panic or change anything,” the all-rounder added. “We have so many senior players and we just need to step up as senior players in the team.
“We’ve been dominating for the last few years. We’ve had a lot of success. We won a World Cup. You don’t want to peak too early. We know there are players that need to come back in who can strengthen us.”
Moeen singled out Mark Wood and said he looked forward to the paceman’s return after he recovers from an elbow injury sustained in the Caribbean in January. England’s batters may have struggled against the brilliance of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, who bagged five wickets in the first eight overs, but England’s bowlers failed to extract the same lift and lateral movement with the ball. Wood, along with Jofra Archer, would certainly elevate the bowling unit.
Moeen has called for patience as Buttler and the new coach, Matthew Mott, find their feet: “It will probably take a bit of time. And will probably take a few defeats, which is fine actually. As a new captain, no matter how cool you are you want to play well and get off to a winning [start]. But he also knows that it’s a long way. He’s in for the long run. Jos is a brilliant leader. It will just take him a couple of games.”
Not that Buttler will need to implement wholesale changes or exert himself on a pre-existing culture. “The dressing room almost runs itself a lot of the time,” said Moeen. “So the boys know that [batting collapses] can happen the way we play. It’s just one of those days where we draw a line.”
Tuesday’s match at the Oval was the first time that Buttler, Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Ben Stokes have all shared a field since the 2019 World Cup final. Buttler’s 30 runs aside, the rest of the fab five mustered seven runs between them with Roy, Root and Stokes all registering ducks.
Their next match is on Thursday’s second ODI at Lord’s. And while the quick turnaround allows the players the opportunity to put this latest upset behind them, Moeen points out that the hectic schedule can affect the team’s performance.
“It’s a day off, play, day off, and the travelling between that’s difficult,” he said. “That can be difficult and would be difficult for most teams.”