Moeen Ali believes he is “getting towards my best” as a spinner as he prepares for England’s opening Test versus the West Indies in Barbados.
The Worcestershire all-rounder is returning to the venue where he admits he delivered what was “probably the worst I’ve ever bowled in an England shirt” in the 2015 Test.
But Moeen now has more confidence in his ability in contrast to the times when England tried to deflect pressure off the 31-year-old who was tagged as the ‘second spinner.’
He has lifted his wicket tally in Test cricket to 163 after claiming 30 scalps in the previous five Tests v India and Sri Lanka.
Moeen said: “I’m not too fussed about being the ‘second spinner’ anymore.
“Maybe before I was, but now I just try and focus on myself and, if someone else (another spinner) plays, I try to help them as much as I can.
“I’d be fine playing as the only spinner.
“When you hear about the records and the people you have passed (in terms of Test wickets) it gives you confidence. I’ve passed some really good spinners for England.
“Thinking better of myself might improve me. I’ve got to do that rather than almost hide behind saying ‘I’m a second spinner.’ I’ve got to face and deal with it.
“I feel I’m at the best age now. I’m 31 and I’ve played quite a bit for England. I feel as a spinner I’m getting towards my best. I feel like I’m genuinely getting better.”
Moeen had figures of 2-110 when he last played in a Test in Barbados three years ago.
He said: “I’ve bowled poorly at times but that was probably the worst I’ve ever bowled in an England shirt. I’d just come back from injury and I was the only spinner. I bowled badly.”