Moeen Ali: Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood will be fired up to face England

By Sports Desk October 25, 2023

Moeen Ali believes former England coach Chris Silverwood will be keen to “prove a point” with his Sri Lanka side in Thursday’s World Cup clash in Bengaluru.

Silverwood was England’s fast bowling coach they won the tournament in 2019 and expected to be the man in charge of the title defence when he was chosen to succeed Trevor Bayliss in the top job.

But his reign came to an ignominious end when he was sacked after the 2021/22 Ashes debacle, with England subsequently opting to split the job between red and white-ball specialists.

Silverwood made a quick return to international cricket with Sri Lanka and faces his old charges in a game that both nations need to win to maintain any realistic chance of reaching the knockout stages.

England have already been bested by one of their own in India, with former batter Jonathan Trott guiding Afghanistan to a shock win in Delhi, and are aware of the extra layer of intrigue created by Silverwood’s appearance in the opposition dugout.

“I’m sure he’s got that motivation to do well in this game, definitely,” said Moeen.

“They’ve only won once, so they’ll want to get on a winning run as well and he’ll be thinking more about that and his own team.

“But I’m sure deep down, like everybody else, he’ll be trying to prove a point or whatever it is and that will motivate him a little bit more.

“He’s a good coach and a nice guy, and I enjoyed (working with) him. But he’s not the one going out to bat and bowl, it’s his team. He’ll be trying to get them ready.”

Moeen is heading into the game with some some additional motivation of his own, having been confined to a watching brief since the opening match of the tournament.

Despite being the squad’s nominated vice-captain, the 36-year-old was dropped after the nine-wicket thrashing by New Zealand and has now missed three in a row.

Things have hardly improved in his absence and, after England’s heaviest ever ODI defeat at the hands of South Africa last time out, he is odds-on to return in a city he once called home during his IPL stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“It’s been very frustrating, obviously, because you want to play and make some sort of difference,” he said of his stint on the bench.

“It’s difficult when you’re not winning and then when you’re not playing on top of that, it’s hard. I’m hoping to play and get a chance to perform.

“It’s one of those grounds where scoring is quick and batting deep makes a big difference. If I get the nod, then I’m really looking forward to playing. I’ve played franchise cricket here and it’s a great place to play, a great venue. I’m be pretty excited.”

England radically altered the balance of their side against the Proteas, banishing their core of all-rounders in favour of their top six batters and five specialist bowlers.

A 229-run thrashing is likely to see that formula banished. Three changes are possible, with Reece Topley having flown home with a broken finger and Gus Atkinson and David Willey both vulnerable. Chris Woakes and Liam Livingstone would be favourites to return alongside Moeen.

Topley’s injury replacement, Brydon Carse, has arrived in the country and trained for the first time on Wednesday afternoon.

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