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Moeen ready for EPP challenge

Moeen Ali talks to ahead of England Performance Programme's trip to Australia this winter

The 2013 FTI MVP and NatWest PCA Player of the Year Moeen Ali feels much more confident about his England Performance Programme chances this winter than he did during his first tour in 2008.

Moeen’s maiden spell with the setup did not bring great rewards, but the all-rounder has enjoyed a fabulous 2013 campaign and now feels like he belongs at the level.

The EPP will play two three-day fixtures Down Under and get the opportunity to train with the England side during their Ashes campaign.

And with the full international setup within reaching distance, the 26-year-old all-rounder is determined to make the most of his opportunity in Australia.

“I didn’t feel quite ready at the time,” said Moeen when asked by about his previous EPP experience.

“But now I feel like I’ve earned my spot. I know my game a lot more, I know what I need to do a bit more.

Moeen Ali was the highest run scorer in the 2013 LV= County Championship, form which saw him called up the EPP squad "I’ve got much more confidence than I had then. Now I’m just looking forward to the winter and working hard.

“You never know, a couple of good performances or training sessions and they might think you’re good enough for international level.”

Moeen was 21 back then, a promising player who had just arrived at Worcestershire from Warwickshire.

Last season he struggled during a wet summer as his county was relegated from Division One of the LV= County Championship. But this season Moeen made the most of a hot, dry season to shine with both bat and ball.

He compiled more than 2,000 runs and took 55 wickets across all formats. Nobody in either division of the championship scored more than his 1,375 runs - which included a career-best 250 against Glamorgan.

Moeen revealed that it was the result of a hard winter’s graft.

“I’ve worked hard this winter and I’ve just tried to be consistent in my game; thankfully this year it has come off,” he said.

“(I worked on my) balance, backlift, couple of technical areas, and a bit of (the) mental (side).

“But really, just keeping it as simple as I can, going back to basics and almost starting again.

“(The) wickets have been very flat this year compared to last year, so I tried to make the most of it.”

Having been thought of as a batsman who can bowl, Moeen is now firmly in the all-rounder category.

He returned figures of 6-77 in Worcestershire’s final game of the campaign against Northamptonshire, ensuring he would top the FTI MVP rankings and earn the £10,000 prize fund.

Moeen would like more opportunities to bowl in the future to further showcase his talents.

He said: “I see myself as an all-rounder. I feel my bowling is much better than what people actually think; I spin the ball quite a bit.

“I need to be a bit more consistent with my bowling, because I don’t practice as much as my batting, but it’s getting there. The more I bowl the better I get.

“I probably could have bowled a lot more (this season). I felt I was under-bowled a little bit because of the wickets, but still I’m very happy (with my performances).”

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