Moeen Ali says England ‘really looking forward’ to thriving at packed Mirpur vs Bangladesh

Moeen Ali says England 'really looking forward' to thriving at packed Mirpur vs Bangladesh

Moeen Ali, England’s vice-captain, believes his side have the skill and experience to thrive in front of a partisan home crowd at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka in their first ODI in Bangladesh on Wednesday.

England have lost five of their six ODIs this winter, generally fielding under-strength teams in front of underwhelming crowds in Australia and South Africa. But Wednesday’s game, the first of a three-match series in a rearranged tour, is expected to attract a crowd near the stadium’s 25,000 capacity.

Bangladesh have an excellent recent record on home soil: since their last home series against England in 2016, they have won 20 home ODIs and lost only six. They have also won seven consecutive home ODI series, most recently beating India 2-1 in December.

Conditions in Mirpur have often played into Bangladesh’s favour, with low or variable bounce suiting their array of finger-spinners. But Moeen said that England were excited about the prospect of taking on Bangladesh at a venue that has been their fortress over the last decade.

“That’s the one thing we’re really looking forward to,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “We’ve talked about how good the crowd is here, how loud they are. I don’t think it builds any pressure in any way. It’s amazing – it’s always amazing to play in front of large crowds.

“And don’t forget, a lot of our players play IPL and it’s probably the number one place in terms of the noise and things like that. We’ve played some big games all over the world. That sort of thing… if anything, it’s more exciting to play in front of a huge crowd that makes a lot of noise.”

England’s recent results in ODIs have been poor, with eight defeats in their last 10 completed games dating back to India’s tour last summer. But Moeen downplayed the relevance of their form, underlining the fact that they have regularly been without first-choice players due to a packed schedule featuring overlapping series.

“Bangladesh in their own conditions are very good and we know the threat they pose,” Moeen said. “We have lost 8 in the last 10, but we are also the champions of the world and have done well before that – and actually we haven’t really had our best team for a lot of the time recently.”

They are, once again, without several first-choice players in this series. The second Test of their tour to New Zealand finished around 27 hours before the start of the first ODI, meaning that Will Jacks – who flew to Dhaka during the Wellington Test – is the only man involved in both series. A handful of players also made themselves unavailable for selection in order to fulfil more lucrative contracts in the Pakistan Super League.

While several players have criticised England’s non-stop schedule – most notably Ben Stokes, who lashed out at administrators when retiring from ODIs last year – Moeen said that England were well-placed to cope due to their depth across formats.

“It’s going to be normal,” Moeen predicted. “Not just for us, but for most countries now. Obviously our schedule is quite tough, but we’ve got enough really good players to [cope with] that.

“We’ve got a very good side here and we’ve got a very good side over there. We’re in a very fortunate position and a blessed place as an England cricket team in all formats at the moment.”

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