BIRMINGHAM: Spark Green park in Birmingham has been transformed to celebrate Birmingham Phoenix team and captain Moeen Ali ahead of Peonix’s first match against London Spirits in the new short form cricket competition “The Hundred”.
The face of Birmingham born Moeen, who grew up playing cricket in the area, features within the Birmingham Phoenix striking orange and black mural design on the walls of Spark Green Park.
Speaking to Geo News, Moeen Ali said this was the same area where he grew up. He played a lot of football
and cricket there as his school was nearby, so it means a lot as it feels very personal to him.
“To see it transformed completely ahead of our Birmingham Phoenix campaign in The Hundred makes me feel very proud and it’s going to be so inspiring to the youngsters who play here each week.”
Moeen said he hopes that the mural will inspire the younger kids in the area to take on the game and see that there is a career in playing sports and cricket and it’s easier for them to access than they probably think at times.
“Sometimes we as British South Asians think that accessibility is very difficult but actually it’s not as hard as you think,” added Moeen who himself is a British of Pakistani and Kashmiri origin.
Moeen hopes that fans from the local South Asian community will also participate in the tournament and come to the ground to support the local team.
Speaking about the difference between more established short form T20 cricket and this new 100 ball version The Hundred, Moeen said he thinks the rules are pretty much same but it’s slightly different from T20.
“It’s 20 balls less but in terms of batting and bowling it will be same. I think the adjustments will be where somebody has to ball 10 balls and it is up to captain to pick which bowler and when to ball. It’s really important to watch other teams play and how they go about it.”
For Moeen to be captain of the Phoenix team in The Hundred is a proud moment. “Being a local guy living 10 minutes away from Edgbaston most of my life, so it’s very exciting to lead Birmingham Phoenix,” Moeen added.
Recently the English Test squad was announced for the first two Tests against India but Moeen Ali couldn’t make to it.
Speaking about the team selection, Moeen said he wasn’t surprised for not being part of the team as Jack Leach is the number one spinner for England at the moment. In recent months Moeen has been in and out of English squad for all three forms of cricket. He described it as a difficult time as the team is building for the T20 World Cup.
Moeen was also part of the T20 squad which won the recent three match T20I series against Pakistan. About his performance Moeen said he’s happy and satisfied.
Moeen thinks that The Hundred can definitely exist with T20 tournament.
“I feel the game really needs to move on a little bit forward. Everything seems to be going quicker and faster now and everyone wants it to be that way,” said Moeen.
“But I think Test cricket will always be there and other formats will also stay so The Hundred will not affect any other format at least for 4-5 years,” he added.
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