England vice-captain Joe Root has backed Moeen Ali to "rise to the challenge" if he opens the batting in tomorrow's (Tuesday's) First Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.
Worcestershire all-rounder Moeen is the strong favourite to partner skipper Alastair Cook despite scoring only 41 runs in three warm-up innings against Pakistan 'A' last week.
The 28-year-old has risen to every challenge presented to him by England from being the main spinner to batting at number six and then at eight.
Root said: "I'm sure Mo will show what he can do. I think he's proven in Test cricket now that he's a valuable member of our batting side.
"I'm sure he'll rise to the challenge.
"He's batted at six and eight in Test cricket and he's made valuable contributions in both positions."
Moeen has scored 749 runs in his 16 Test matches to date at an average of 31.20 and was England's third top scorer against Australia with 293 behind Root and Cook despite dropping down from six to eight in the order.
He will be hoping to help England become the first visiting side to defeat Pakistan in a Test series since the United Arab Emiratres became their base five years ago.
The Second Test will take place at Dubai from October 22-26 with the final match of the series in Sharjah from November 1-5.