Moeen Ali admitted the absence of several regular players was “no excuse” for England’s struggling white-ball tour of the Caribbean ahead of their must-win T20 against Grenada on Saturday.
After a shock group stage exit from the World Cup in India, England lost the ODI series against the West Indies and have no margin for error in the T20 games after trailing 2-0 with three games to go.
This was supposed to be a dry run for the defense of their T20 World Cup in the region next summer, but the Windies’ belligerent batting has helped them to wins in Barbados and Grenada this week.
While the tourists are without Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood, Moeen pointed out that most of the side that won the T20 World Cup last year are in tow and should do better than them.
“There are still players coming back,” Moeen said. “Of course with Stokesy, Bairstow and Woody.
“But there is no excuse. Everyone here is a good player – our boys have played quite a bit of T20 cricket now. It hasn’t been long since we won the World Cup.
“We just have to adapt quickly to these conditions because that’s what awaits us. It will be completely different to (last year’s tournament in) Australia. “I think we just have to start winning.
“There is still a bit of time until the World Cup, but of course we have to do a few things right as a team. We need to capture these moments and recognize them immediately.”
The Windies have hit a total of 27 sixes so far to put the English bowlers under sustained pressure, while Jos Buttler’s side have only released the rope 14 times.
However, in Thursday’s 10-run defeat, several England batters failed to build on their starts and gave away their wickets by being caught on the edge of the pitch.
Slow left-back Gudakesh Motie conceded just nine runs in his four overs on a slow pitch and Moeen argued that England’s batsmen don’t necessarily need to constantly be wary of flying into the air.
“From our perspective it’s not good enough – at least I think we can rotate a little bit more if we don’t want to take him out, rotate a little bit more and at least keep the scoreboard going,” Moeen said.
“You always target the bowlers and I just think we probably didn’t get it right with their spin.
“Yes, we have a lot of power and can hit balls, but most of the time we just give away the wicket. You can still be positive and hit the ball high, but you don’t always have to hit sixes.”
A change of format was not conducive to England captain Jos Buttler, who was out for five out of seven balls at the National Cricket Stadium after gently nudging the cover fielder in the crease.
It’s been a frustrating few months for Buttler, both in terms of his performances and England’s results, but his deputy Moeen has urged patience with the team in the transition period.
“My job is to give him an answer when he asks me and make sure there is no doubt that something is coming from me and support him as best as I can,” Moeen added. “He led us to a World Cup (win).
“It will be a difficult time. This was always going to happen, as everyone knows. It’s just a matter of getting back to business and making it clear to everyone what their role is in the team.”
For a second game in 48 hours at St George’s, England are likely to shuffle their bowlers with left-arm seamer Reece Topley and uncapped paceman John Turner pushing for involvement.