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Moeen relishing World T20 opener
England's form going into their World Twenty20 opener against New Zealand may leave plenty to be desired, but newcomer Moeen Ali is relishing his first taste of international cricket.
The Worcestershire batsman, who prefers to be known as an all-rounder due to his tidy off-spinners, has been one of county cricket's most prolific scorers in the last couple of seasons.
He was a beneficiary of England's post-Ashes review, and not least Kevin Pietersen's controversial sacking, earning a call-up for this month's tournament in Bangladesh and, with it, a place on the preceding tour of the West Indies.
He has tasted victory just once in his four outings to date, the five-run one-day international win in Barbados, and featured in both of England's Twenty20 warm-up defeats against West Indies and India.
Moeen's first three knocks in a Three Lions shirt yielded just 30 runs and even though he top-scored with 46 against the Indians on Wednesday, he struggled to keep up with the required rate in the first half of his innings.
But while England may be at a low ebb heading into Saturday's Group 1 game against New Zealand, 26-year-old Moeen is in upbeat mood.
"I'm finding it really good being with England and making the most of my time with the England coaches and players," he said.
"This is the top level and I've wanted to play at this level a long time. I'm enjoying it a lot and I'm just trying to make the most of it.
"I was happy with the innings against India. Maybe I could have had a bit more energy at the start of the innings. I caught up in the end, but I don't like losing so the result was a bit disappointing.
"I'm not going to be too down about it, I batted all right and the team can definitely take encouragement from the last game. They are a top Twenty20 side, one of the favourites to win, so to play like we did against them was a positive.
"We wish we'd won but we will take a lot out of the game."
Despite Moeen's optimistic outlook, Ashley Giles could hardly have asked for a tougher assignment as he attempts to push his claims for the vacant position of head coach.
Captain Stuart Broad's knee injury has restricted him to only two overs since arriving in Bangladesh, at least half of his likely starting XI appear distinctly out of form and scoring quickly off spin bowling remains an unsolved conundrum.
One of those problems seems closer to being resolved than the others, with all signs that Broad will be ready to lead the side against New Zealand on Saturday and play a full part in the tournament.
His reduced role in the India match meant he did not captain, with Eoin Morgan again deputising, but his mere presence lifted the side.
"It was brilliant to see Broady back and bowling two overs," added Moeen.
"It was a massive boost for the team when he came on to the pitch, which was very pleasing, and we hope he'll be fit to play from the start of the tournament.
"He gives us a bit of balance, he's a bit different to the rest of our bowlers. With all his experience and being our leader, it's always nice to see him on the pitch."