England has named spin-bowling all-rounder Moeen Ali as the vice-captain for the fourth test against India at “The Oval”. The all-important match will begin on September 2 and go on till September 6.
The official Twitter handle of England cricket revealed the news on the eve of the 4th test. The post read: “Moeen Ali has been named as our vice-captain for the fourth LV= Insurance Test against India. Congrats, Mo!”
The change in the vice-captaincy comes due to the regular vice-captain Jos Butler being unavailable for the rest of the series due to the impending birth of his second child. Kent wicketkeeper Sam Billings has replaced Butler in the squad for the 4th test.
Moeen Ali didn’t play the first Test
Surprisingly, Moeen wasn’t even part of the original squad that England announced for the first couple of tests of the series. Ali did not feature in the opening Test at Trent Bridge. He was later drafted into the squad for the 2nd Test at Lord’s as the home side looked to balance their playing XI in the absence of Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes.
Moeen Ali made his Test debut for England against the Sri Lanka cricket team in 2014. Over the years Moeen has produced excellent and match-defining performances for England in Tests.
The 34-year-old has thus far managed 48 runs in three innings with the bat. Ali has also claimed four wickets across four innings at an average of 45.25 and an economy rate of 3.02.
With the pitch at the Oval expected to be dry, which is a favorable condition for a spinner, Moeen Ali could play a crucial role during the latter stages of the match. Meanwhile, England has made many changes to their squad for the 4th test at The Oval. Pace bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes has made it back into the squad after he had to sit out due to an injury. He has replaced Saqib Mahmood in the team. Mark Wood has also been declared fit for the match after he missed the third test due to a shoulder injury he suffered at Lord’s.
With Jos Butler no longer available, Jonny Bairstow will perform the wicketkeeping duties for the team. One of Ollie Pope or Dan Lawrence could make their way into the playing XI in place of Buttler.
England hasn’t lost a Test match against India at the Oval since 1971. The English side led by the in-form batsman Joe Root will be hoping to keep this proud record going as they look to take lead in the five-match series. Eyes will be set on Ollie Robinson to see whether he can replicate his performance of Headingley at The Oval.