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Steve Harmison believes a recall for Moeen Ali could hold the key to an England revival after defeat to New Zealand.
The Black Caps condemned England to their first Test series defeat on home soil since 2014 with a crushing win at Edgbaston earlier this month.
It has left Joe Root’s side in disarray ahead of the visit of India later this summer and an Ashes series Down Under against Australia over the winter.
England’s batting has come under the spotlight whilst a lack of spinner has also been an issue amid a wealth of strong seam bowling options.
And 2005 Ashes winner Harmison insists England must find a way to get all-rounder Ali back in the side.
Steve Harmison has urged England to hand Moeen Ali a recall to the Test team
(Image: Will Palmer/SWpix.com)
“The one person I think England have got to get back into the team is Moeen Ali,” Harmison said, speaking at an event with Vertu Motors , sponsor of Yorkshire CCC and Durham Cricket.
“By hook or by crook, they’ve got to get him back in that team and somehow get him to play against India and against Australia.
“Australia is going to be difficult because it doesn’t lend itself to a finger spinner, but Nathan Lyon bowls well over there.
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“There’s a lot of talk about history, what happened with Mo last time, but he’s a different player, different bowler, they’re a different team. There’s a lot of variables that go with that.
“For me, Moeen Ali balances this team out, he’s our most experienced bowler and he’s proven in international cricket he can bowl.”
Harmison insists Ali is still England's best spin option and adds balance to the side
Ali struggled against Australia in 2019, taking a short break from cricket after being dropped following the First Test.
He made his first Test appearance since August 2019 against India in February but flew home and missed the last two Tests.
Despite his lack of recent games, Harmison believes a lack of confidence in other off-spin options indicates Ali is the “logical option” to fill the void.
Joe Root's team suffered a miserable defeat at the hands of New Zealand
(Image: Action Images via Reuters)
“You need a spinner, and at the moment England just don’t seem to trust the ones they’re picking,” Harmison added. “They didn’t want to pick Bess, they’ve picked Leach in two games and it’s rained one day out of the 10 at Lords and Edgbaston.
“The logical option is to pick Moeen Ali, so somehow we’ve got to try and get Moeen Ali back into the England Test team.
“If he doesn’t want to play, that’s fine, you move on, but I still think there’s a lot of value and mileage in Mo, because he’s our best spin bowler.”