Moeen: England is my country, not Pakistan

England

England all-rounder Moeen Ali has never had any desire to play for Pakistan, saying he is English through and through, and hopes Asian kids born in the UK learn to support England's cricketers.

England all-rounder Moeen Ali has never had any desire to play for Pakistan, saying he is English through and through, and hopes Asian kids born in the UK learn to support England's cricketers.

While Ali's parents are from Pakistan, he was born in Birmingham and has wanted to play for England since childhood. He is likely to get his first Test cap against Sri Lanka next month, which will make his dad's dream for him come true.

Moeen told the <i>Daily Mail</i>: "We all played in my family and cricket has always been in the blood. We didn't really worry about education because we all thought we would end up playing cricket.

"I think my dad always believed I would play for England, probably more than I believed it, but it never crossed our minds that we weren't going to make it.

"A lot of Asians I've met have said, 'Why don't you play for Pakistan?', but for me it was always about playing for England. This is my country, this is where I was born.

"I was saying to (England captain) Alastair Cook the other day that as soon as I land or drive into Birmingham I feel at home. No matter where I've been in the world. It's really special.

"I like to see the kids in my area wearing England shirts, not Pakistan or India ones. A lot of it comes from the older generations but it's changing slowly, especially if people like myself and Ravi Bopara are playing for England.

"I would like to see that change a bit more."

One of the reasons Ali has become a likely pick for England is his off-spin, which has turned him from a batsman who can bowl into a genuine all-rounder.

He has been developing the doosra, helped by Worcestershire loan signing Saeed Ajmal, and feels players outside of Asia need to stop being afraid of bowling that delivery. He is confident of the legality of his doosra, but says he'll bowl it anyway.

He continued: "Everybody is bowling it now apart from us but every young off-spinner in this country should be taught how to bowl a doosra.

"It's happened in other countries for a long time now but we always seem to have a problem with it and somehow feel it's going to destroy our spinners.

"We never seem open to these kind of things but we will have to be and I think we are slowly realising that people can't just bowl orthodox off-spin any more.

"Our batsmen always struggle against mystery – everybody does – and you have to have it these days or you're not going to last too long.

"There are so many different actions out there with people who have kinks and I don't see why I can't get away with it. I have asked a lot of people and 95 per cent who have watched me have said they think my action is legal when I bowl it.

"I'm going to do it anyway and if the umpires call me for throwing they will call me. We shouldn't be scared of it any more."

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