Moeen Ali: A shame to be flying back early

Moeen Ali has expressed his disappointment at having to leave the IPL before its conclusion. The all-rounder has been in fine form for RCB, but he is one of several England players set to fly back home early for World Cup preparation.

Wednesday’s fixture against Kings XI Punjab will be Moeen’s last appearance this season. “It’s not ideal, obviously,” he said.

“I think it’s worse when there are three games to go. There’s not much cricket left. If there were six or seven games left, it was a little more understandable. It’s also difficult to leave a team, especially when I’m in a bit of form and I want to keep going in the IPL, trying to improve my game.

“I feel like I’m a big part of the boys and I’ll miss them. It’s a shame but there’s obviously the World Cup which is very important as well.”

Moeen has bowled only 22 overs in his 10 games, despite having been frugal (6.68 rpo) with his off-spin. But the 31-year-old is not complaining.

“It’s a small ground here. The other day (against CSK), seamers were harder to hit for runs. Against KKR, I never really got that window to bowl (before the 20th over) because Andre Russell came in. It sometimes happens for England: if it’s a small ground, if I’m not batting so well, then I don’t even play. As long as you’re winning, you don’t really worry too much,” he said.

‘Ashwin a smart cricketer’

Meanwhile, Kings XI Punjab’s Mayank Agarwal hailed the performance of Chris Gayle (421 runs) and K.L. Rahul (399 runs), the team’s openers. “They are in the top five run-getters of the tournament. It’s amazing to have both of them at the top of the order. They are almost always setting it up for us,” he said.

Agarwal was also full of praise for R. Ashwin’s captaincy. “He puts in a lot of hard work. Obviously, we all know he is a very thinking cricketer, very smart cricketer. He spends a lot of time thinking, planning and going about understanding each and every person. He is also great with communication, goes to every player and if there is a specific role that needs to be talked about, he does that.”

Asked about Afghan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman’s fitness, Agarwal stated that a final decision would be made on Wednesday.

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