England’s chances of making the semi-finals and possibly winning their first World Cup took a massive hit when they suffered back to back defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia.
Eoin Morgan’s team have India to contend with in their next ICC World Cup 2019 encounter and all-rounder Moeen Ali is well aware of the challenge the only unbeaten team at the tournament poses.
Writing in his column in The Guardian, Ali said that Indian captain Virat Kohli will know that he is out to get to him.
Kohli, who has scored four half-centuries so far at the World Cup, is yet to score a century at the tournament this time and has England in his sights when they take on each other at Birmingham. Kohli is the second highest run-scorer for India at the World Cup so far.
“Virat knows he’s there to score runs for India, while I’m there to get him out (or score some myself). It means a lot to get a player like him out but you can be still be friends trying to do it. I grew up playing against friends and cousins in the park and it was some of the most competitive cricket I have played. The key here is respect,” Ali wrote.
Ali explained that Sunday’s clash will see the Indians face more pressure than the hosts,simply because they enjoy superstar status back home and the fans don’t always take kindly to defeat.
“The pressure of being the home side shouldn’t be a factor. Our next opponent, India, are a good reminder of this because we don’t have to deal with nearly the same amount of expectation as they do. They are superstars back home. Win and they are showered with praise, lose and they are on the receiving end of harsh criticism. And they aren’t able to lead everyday lives when they’re not playing because of the attention they receive,” the off-spinner wrote.
“We have known each other since our under-19 days but over the past couple of years, at Royal Challengers Bangalore, we have become good friends. I don’t want to pump his tyres up too much before a big game but he is a motivated, driven and dedicated cricketer.”
The Englishman further added that it will be the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav that is likely to pose the toughest challenge for the England batsmen, who began the tournament with high scores but have struggled in recent weeks.
“Yuzvendra Chahal, India’s leg-spinner, is another IPL team-mate. He’s also a great guy and very funny. Overcoming his spin pairing with Kuldeep Yadav will be important on Sunday. We managed this last year during the ODI series win and the key will be to have the right mindset again; not to get sucked into conditions or the situation too much – play each ball on merit.
“That’s how guys like Jonny Bairstow produce their best cricket. Jason Roy is the same. He just goes out and plays. He’s still smart with it but it’s all about how he approaches it on the day rather than the bowlers he is up against, and that’s why he’s so feared.”
Ali hopes that Roy will eventually be fit for the game on Sunday which is being played in the city of Birmingham - the place where he was born and still lives.
“We all hope Jason is fit for Edgbaston on Sunday, which will be a special game for me if selected. Warwickshire may not be my county any more but it’s a World Cup match in the city I was born and still live. It is always buzzing and whenever I am back I feel right at home again. It’s the best ground in the country.”