Moeen Ali calls for change in ‘mentality’ after England collapse against India

India's Ishant Sharma (left) celebrates the wicket of England's Moeen Ali. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 08 September 2018
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Moeen Ali calls for change in ‘mentality’ after England collapse against India

LONDON: Moeen Ali said England’s batsmen need to “change our mentality” after yet another collapse against India but remains positive about the future despite the impending retirement of opening linchpin Alastair Cook.
England’s top order has repeatedly failed to fire during the five-match Test series against India, failing to reach 400 once, and their batsmen again let them down on the first day of the fifth Test at the Oval on Friday.
The home side — with former captain Cook playing his final match — were cruising at one stage on 133 for one, with Cook and Ali at the crease.
But a flurry of wickets in the final session left them struggling at 198-7 at the close after a low-scoring day.
Moeen, who scored a watchful 50 in 170 balls before he was caught behind off the bowling of Ishant Sharma, admitted that England had issues to sort out beyond replacing Cook.
“There are obviously players who are going to come in or there’s a player that’s going to come in and try and replace Cooky, which will be very, very difficult,” he said.
“We do have these collapses but everyone that gets out is a fantastic player and we all know that they all justify being in the side. It is difficult. These things happen. It’s not just us guys, it happens around the world.”
Moeen, batting at number three after a career spent shuffling around the order, said India had bowled “fantastically well” in the series, which had made life difficult for the batsmen.
But he said he remained upbeat despite England’s batting woes.
“I’m always confident,” he said. “There’s always good players, maybe some players that you don’t know of at the moment that will turn up.
“I think there’s some very good players in county cricket who have got the ability to play but obviously we don’t want these collapses all the time and I know they’re happening but hopefully we just need to change our mentality a little bit I think.”
The all-rounder said he thought Cook, who was dismissed for 71, had been destined to make a hundred in his final Test.
“Definitely, especially when he got dropped,” he said. “I said ‘this is meant to be for you’ but unfortunately he didn’t.”
India’s Ravindra Jadeja praised the tourists’ bowlers, saying England panicked.
“Everyone bowled well,” he said. “Especially when the partnership between Moeen Ali and Alastair Cook was on, our plan was to stop the boundaries.
“Our plan was that if they didn’t get boundaries, they’d panic and play wrong shots and get out. And that’s exactly what happened.
“From there we got six wickets for 50 or so. As a bowling department, that is our idea — not to concede runs. If there’s a partnership, we will bowl in good areas. In England, if one wicket falls, you get two or three in a cluster. And that’s what happened.”
England have already won the five-match series after taking an unassailable 3-1 lead.


Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

Updated 15 November 2018
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Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

  • 2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari
  • If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events

LONDON: Francesco Molinari is looking to end a fairytale season by becoming the European No. 1 at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, which starts today, and the first Italian to achieve the feat.
2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari, with a maiden Major victory in the Open Championship in July, which followed a first Rolex event victory at the BMW PGA Championship in May. He has also not missed a single cut this season, a run that extends over four years in regular European Tour events.
And in a glorious Ryder Cup for the Europeans, he became the first player from the continent to win five points out of five, while securing the winning point in his singles match against USA’s Phil Mickelson.
Speaking to journalists ahead of today’s tee-off, the Italian said: “It feels incredible, a new position for me, I’ve never been here in the past.
“I think it’s just a consequence and a sign of an incredible season. I would have never guessed that I would be here in this position if you told me in April or May this year but it’s been an incredible summer, topped by an unbelievable Ryder Cup.
“Really, it’s a dream season for me and it’s nice to be here in this position. Hopefully I’ll be able to close it out. I know it’s not going to be easy and I’m not making any assumptions but I’ll do my best on the course to do the job.
And when asked about his prospects of winning the Harry Vardon trophy this weekend, he said: “You can have the best week of your life and win one tournament but to win a competition that lasts throughout the season, with the amount of talent there is right now on the European Tour, is something really hard to do but it’s also still hard to figure out for me how I’m here in this position.”
Molinari needs to finish tied-fifth or better at the Jumeirah Golf Estates to seal the Race to Dubai crown, but Ryder Cup partner Tommy Fleetwood — the man he formed such a strong bond with in Paris — is the only man who can prevent him the perfect ending.
Victory for the Englishman on the Earth Course is the only way he can deny Molinari the title, but the Italian was full of praise for his “best friend” and would not begrudge Fleetwood if he successfully defended his Race to Dubai crown.
“I know we said this and we’re going to sound really cheesy but if I don’t win, I’d rather see him win than anyone else,” he said.
“We really are good friends and he’s had an amazing season. To think that he won last year and to come here, still with a chance to win two in a row, it’s incredible, really.
“So fair play to him. What I can say for me is that it’s been a great season and however it goes this week, I’m still going to have lots of great memories from all of what I’ve done this year, and probably the best memory is what we’ve done together with him in France.
“I can’t really be mad at him, even if he wins.”
If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events and he praised the introduction of the European Tour’s prestige level of tournaments.
“There’s a few events that we target every year,” he said. “It’s great for us to have the opportunity to play in such special tournaments.
“Especially for guys like me, playing a home event in Italy that is part of the Rolex Series, just gives a completely new meaning to the Italian Open.”