England v India: Ian Bell backs Moeen Ali to become top spinner

England v India: Ian Bell is backing Moeen Ali to become a top spinner if he continues to improve ahead of fourth Test

By Sam Rogers

Ian Bell has backed England team-mate Moeen Ali to become a top spinner if he continues to improve at the current rate.

Moeen has been in the spotlight since being selected for England as their sole spin option, but a surge in confidence and the support of his team-mates saw him take eight wickets in the third Test against India, including six in the second innings to spin his side to an emphatic final day victory.

Moeen has played that role in the last two Tests. He bowled better at Lord’s, when there was no spin. He did a job for us

Ian Bell

A fine player of spin himself, Bell worked with Moeen, suggesting bowling a tighter line at a faster pace and believes while the Worcestershire man is capable of producing some special deliveries, it was the progress he was making defensively that was raising his stock in the international arena.

“Moeen has all the skills to become a fine spinner at this level,” Bell said.

“Having faced him in the nets, he’s got all the tricks. He gets lovely drift, drop and he does bowl magic balls. He’s improved in a short period of time, which is really encouraging.

“The more he plays, the better he gets. But he understands that he will not get the same results every week. The important thing is, you’re not going to get surfaces that help you all the time.”

Moeen faced the unenviable task of trying to fill the void left by Graeme Swann, who proved a match-winner on numerous occasion for his country.

And while the debate will rumble on as to whether he is a genuine front-line spinner or more of a part-time option, Bell believes his team-mate has shown a great skill-set and versatility that should stand him in good stead in international cricket.

“I played a lot with Graeme Swann and he had two games. He could play on a non-turning pitch at Lord’s and go for two-an-over for 20 overs, and that was just as important as bowling on day five when the conditions are in your favour,” Bell added.

“Moeen has played that role in the last two Tests. He bowled better at Lord’s, when there was no spin. He did a job for us.

“We have to go all round the world and play on different surfaces, so he has to have the full armoury, not just the one magical ball. He is a work in progress but he has improved in a short period of time, which is really encouraging.”

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