Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

You Can't Beat a Bit of Banter for Morale, Says Moeen

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

You Can't Beat a Bit of Banter for Morale, Says Moeen

Article excerpt

EOIN Morgan might have just set a new world record for sixes but friendly ribbing from the dressing room is driving all of England's big hitters to go harder, better, faster and stronger.

Captain Morgan hammered 17 maximums in his match-winning 148 against Afghanistan, the first batsman to do so in one-day internationals, and won plenty of plaudits from his colleagues.

They did not stay awestruck for long though, with all-rounder Moeen Ali admitting they were quickly measuring up the skipper's knock for speed and his sixes for distance.

Moeen, who cleared the ropes four times in a powerful cameo at number seven and also boasts England's third fastest ODI century at 53 balls, happily deconstructed the innings alongside the likes of Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow.

"We were a bit surprised by Morgy's numbers the other day and we were like 'that's a lot of sixes', but then I turned round and said 'I hit the biggest one'," Moeen revealed ahead of today's World Cup clash against Sri Lanka at Headingley.

"We always talk about stuff like that. Jos came back after scoring a 100 (against Pakistan) and I said 'well, I hit the shot of the day'. We have a bit of banter about it.

"When players go past 53 balls I can always say it's a great knock, but still a bit slow for my liking. I'm always hoping they don't push me further down the list!

"We're just having a lot of fun and ripping each other all the time. We get stuck into each other about everything, about the football, about playing FIFA, it's all part of team bonding and it is very natural. It is by far the best team I've ever played with."

For all the good-natured oneupmanship, Moeen is forced to admit one player has the others beaten when it comes to pure distance.

"Buttler. With ease," he said. "I think everyone is capable of hitting big sixes, but Jos is the one guy that everyone knows is out front. …

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