• Specsavers County Championship 2m

    Moeen raring to go for Worcs

    Moeen Ali is feeling recharged after a hectic winter with England as he returns to action for Worcestershire on Friday

    The all-rounder has been made available by the ECB for the Specsavers County Championship clash with Northamptonshire at New Road, plus three matches in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

    And the 29-year-old believes Worcestershire can mount a strong challenge for promotion back to Division One - particularly with the acquisition of John Hastings as their overseas player.

    Hastings has already made a big impact with five wickets and a half-century in the opening win over Glamorgan at the SWALEC Stadium in just over two days.

    Moeen said: "Is this squad good enough to be promoted? I believe so. We have been together as a side for a while and have got a very good overseas player with great experience. I think that is what we were probably lacking. 

    "I've played against him a bit in the ODIs. He's a very good player. I have spoken to the guys at Durham and they say he is a fantastic overseas player. He gives it everything on the pitch and he is a very good guy.

    "We have some very good all-rounders and that is going to help. We just need the guys to hit form and they have made a good start.

    "We've got good young players who have played quite a bit now so hopefully we can all gel together this year and surprise a few people.

    "It is always tough and not easy but we've always done alright."

    Mo pleased with 2016 form

    Moeen Ali says it is nice to contribute on a regular basis as he took his Test tally past the 1,000 mark with 146 in the fifth Test.

    Moeen is in his 11th season with Worcestershire and said: "I love playing here. The club means a lot to me. It's a great place to play especially on days when the weather is beautiful. It's a great ground.

    "The Championship game is very important from a Worcestershire point of view and from a personal point of view to get some form and bat some time.

    "But the three one-dayers (Royal London Cup) are also something I'm definitely looking forward to, and hopefully opening the batting again." 

    As someone who plays all three formats for England, Moeen has had little time off this winter and was glad of a break after the ODIs in the West Indies in early March.

    He said: "I needed a break after the winter and I've had one. It's been a tough two years so it has been great to have a break. 

    "You just get into a mindset and get on with it. Personally I love cricket playing but I did feel tired towards the end of the winter."

    This week’s fixture is a meeting of the two form teams in Division Two with Worcestershire on a three-game winning streak - stretching back to last season - and Northants victorious in their last five County Championship matches.

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