ENGLAND all-rounder Moeen Ali, who has been named captain of the Birmingham Phoenix side for The Hundred’s inaugural season, is determined to “promote” the “uniting” spirit of cricket.
Ali, 32, will join fellow World Cup-winning teammate Chris Woakes and national players Liam Livingstone and Pat Brown, when the home team takes on London Spirit at Edgbaston in July.
“Every time that I come to Edgbaston it takes me back to some great first memories of coming here at a very young age,” said Ali.
“I grew up in this area, and to be the first-ever men’s captain of Birmingham Phoenix in a new and inclusive competition that will reach out to communities and welcome them in is very special for me.”
Ali added that Birmingham was “a tight-knit city” with “so much around us that brings the people together, no matter who you are or your background”.
He termed cricket a “uniting game” and stressed that “as a leader of the Birmingham Phoenix that is something I definitely want to promote”.
Ali had taken a break from international cricket, after being dropped for the second Ashes Test in August. Earlier this month, he made a comeback in England’s one-day and Twenty20 series in South Africa.
Ali, who started his career with Warwickshire, has been quite prolific in domestic Twenty20 cricket. He led Worcestershire to victory in the Vitality Blast tournament in 2018 and to the Finals Day last September.
“Worcestershire is where I have developed as a player and as a leader and captaining them in high-profile games like at Finals Day will shape the way I will lead the Birmingham Phoenix,” he said.
Birmingham Phoenix’s head coach Andrew McDonald said Ali’s “efforts on and off the field will help inspire the next generation from our region and beyond to get involved in cricket”.
“Moeen is a fantastic all-rounder and has the experience and temperament to lead the team,” he said.
“He’s involved in the local community in Birmingham and I know how much of a popular figure he is at Worcestershire, too.”
Ali, who turned down a call for England’s upcoming tour of Sri Lanka, will be playing the Pakistan Super League and the Indian Premier League ahead of The Hundred.