England captain Joe Root’s handling of Moeen Ali questioned after India defeat

Michael Vaughan has questioned why England captain Joe Root did not bowl Moeen Ali more on day four

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Former England captain Michael Vaughan has questioned the way England utilise spin after their 157-run defeat to India in the fourth Test at The Oval.

Joe Root did not use off-spinner Moeen Ali much on day four when the seamers were struggling to get anything out of the pitch and Vaughan has questioned why Ali was underbowled.

He also highlighted the plight of Jack Leach, who was England’s leading wicket-taker in the winter with 28 scalps at an average of 31.14 but has not played international cricket at all this summer.

Speaking on BBC Test Match Special, Vaughan said: “The way England handle spin in this Test team is a concern. I don’t quite get the spin management.

Michael Vaughan has questioned why England captain Joe Root did not bowl Moeen Ali more on day four


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“Jack Leach was magnificent in the winter and he hasn’t bowled a single ball this summer. He must be at sea thinking ‘what is my role in this England Test match team?’.

“The way the spin was used in this Test was a concern because it was quite clear that the ball wasn’t swinging and seaming, but we didn’t use Moeen.

“He didn’t have a great game, but I don’t think Joe Root had the best game in terms of managing spin. He could have bowled himself more.”

Vaughan is not only the one to question Root’s use of Ali, with Nasser Hussain left “mystified” by his reluctance to turn to the spinner.

In his column for the Daily Mail, Hussain wrote: “I was mystified by Joe Root’s tactics between lunch and tea.

“On a flat pitch, and on the fourth afternoon — probably the hottest of the series — every other team in the world would have been bowling their frontline spinner.

“Instead, Root kept flogging seamers Anderson and Ollie Robinson, who have been going hard at India all series.

“Whether he had lost some faith in Moeen because he was going at four an over, I don’t know.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan


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“It’s also true he has bowled very little with the red ball this season. But it just feels as if a lack of trust in spin bowling is so endemic in the English game.

“If Australia had been playing, there is no doubt Nathan Lyon would have been bowling his off-breaks in the same situation. If it had been West Indies, we’d have been watching Roston Chase.

“And when India came out to bowl in the final session, Ravindra Jadeja’s slow left-armers were introduced into the attack as early as the eighth over. Sure enough, his first ball spun from the rough outside Burns’s off stump.

“If you’re the spinner in this side, you should be doing a job for your captain on the fourth afternoon. It’s as simple as that.”

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