Moeen Ali took 9 wickets to bowl England to a series-winning victory in the Southampton Test and his father Munir Ali can't stop celebrating since then. “I ate the whole day. Seviyan kheer, Moeen’s favourite" said Muneer.
The extended family sat together and watched the highlights. “20 times,” Munir says. His brother, whose garden was dug up and converted into a cricket pitch all those years ago and who once supported the family even as Munir took a break from work to tag his sons all round the country for cricket, called from Pakistan. “Some of my friends from India also called.” Utter delight pervaded the house.
Moeen's father recollects saying that his son called two days before the fourth Test saying that he didn't think he would play the Test match. “He said ‘Dad, I don’t think I am going to play’ and I also didn’t think he would play. It was a surprise he did.” The father, especially, has been restless for a while now about his son’s Test career.
Moeen had told me that he will work really hard this summer in county cricket to come back.” Rest was up to Ed Smith, the selector, and Joe Root, the captain" Munner further added.
India’s tentativeness against Moeen probably helped his case, Munir feels. “I had this feeling that India were probably preoccupied with what he had done four years ago. They were wary of him. I don’t think they had the confidence of using their feet. They were on the back foot, and the ball was gripping and turning.”
“Taking Kohli’s wicket was a big, big plus. He could have had him three times, to be honest. As soon as he took Virat out, I knew the game was over.” An excited Munir goes into detailed descriptions about those three times – what the ball did, what Kohli did … you could feel the high-octane thrill and happiness in the man whose life has centred around his sons’ cricket."
The venue Southampton eased the nerves of the Ali’s. “This was the ground where they beat India (last time) and he took six wickets. So, I had an idea that he would do well. He was confident. I just told him to be his normal self. He was full of confidence as he had done well in county matches.”
“He can play at No. 3, he can bring balance to the team. He is the No. 1 spinner in the country, as far as I am concerned" Moeen's father concluded saying.