Nasser Hussain believes England must select Moeen Ali and Tymal Mills for their opening T20 World Cup game against the West Indies.
England’s tournament officially gets underway on Saturday when they take on the defending champions in a rematch of the dramatic 2016 final.
And Hussain believes Moeen, who thrived on the same UAE pitches for the Chennai Super Kings in the recent IPL and smashed 43 from just 20 balls in the first warm-up game against India, will be key to England’s chances of success.
In his latest column for the Daily Mail, Hussain insisted: “Whatever combinations England settle on when they take on West Indies in their opening Twenty20 World Cup match, Moeen Ali is a must-pick.
Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)
“As long as the dew isn’t a huge factor, the way Moeen has played recently means I want him involved; he’s a good striker of the ball, a fine player of spin and would be my choice as fifth bowler.
“In the batting order, I would have him floating, so if a left-arm spinner came on, he could be sent in early.
“He has shown great versatility with his recent performances, first in winning the IPL with Chennai and subsequently in the warm-up game against India this week when he smashed 43 not out off 20 balls at the death.
“He appears as comfortable at No 3 or No 4 as he does at No 7 and it feels like England haven’t used him as effectively as some of the franchises he represents.”
Hussain also believes Sussex quick Mills deserves to start, having been recalled to the England squad for the first since 2017.
During his time away from international cricket, Mills has been a regular on the franchise circuit and he has developed into one of the best T20 bowlers in the world.
With a combination of express pace, left-arm variation, a potent slower ball and an excellent record at the death, Mills could prove to be a potent weapon for England with Jofra Archer missing through injury.
“Tymal Mills is a must because while this World Cup is going to be about pace — as we saw with Lockie Ferguson and Wood on Wednesday — it’s also going to be about subtle variations on pitches that are tiring,” Hussain added.
Gareth Copley-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)
“Reductions in pace from 90mph to 70mph — like Mills produces with his back-of-the-hand balls — are going to be vital.
“He is outstanding in the death overs, an area in which England have struggled recently. As long as he’s fit, I’d play him in every game.”
Nasser Hussain’s XI: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Tymal Mills