England opener Moeen Ali is clear about his role at the top of the order, despite the team’s revolving door selection policy.
Moeen has played just 12 one-day internationals but appears to be inked in at the head of the innings for this month’s Tri-Series against Australia and India, as well as the subsequent World Cup.
In his brief ODI career Moeen has already had three different partners – Michael Lumb, Alex Hales and Alastair Cook – and is due to make it four when he and Ian Bell take on Australia in Sydney on Friday.
With former captain Cook dropped from the squad before Christmas, England are short on time to bed in the Moeen-Bell axis.
The pair put on 76 against a modest ACT XI in their first outing on tour, with Bell dropped on four, but they will face a more serious examination by a strong Prime Minister’s XI this morning.
It might seem like dangerously last-minute preparation but Moeen is content with the situation.
“I wouldn’t say it’s difficult to change partners. I just go and play how I need to play on that particular day,” he said, fresh from hitting a 38-ball 50 against the ACT side.
“I’m not bothered one bit. At the moment I’m very happy and I’m just glad I’m opening and enjoying myself.
“I’ve batted with Belly quite a bit. When I first started out at Warwickshire he was there and I enjoy batting with him. He’s quite busy, he’s very good at getting singles as well as the boundary shots and is a classy player so I really enjoy batting with him and hopefully we will be a good combination together. I think our styles will complement each other.”
While Hales made his name as a Twenty20 power-hitter, Bell is more of an accumulator, a fact that places the attacking emphasis on Moeen in the coming weeks.
Luckily for England, it is a burden he is more than happy to shoulder. “Aggressively is probably the only way I can play in one-day cricket,” he said.
“I feel it’s the best way for me to play and if I’ve got any doubt I just tell myself to go hard and not go into a little shell.
“If we are going to win the World Cup and be a successful one-day side we will need good starts. We need guys in the top three who can set the standards for everyone else and be expansive and take some risks.”