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Moeen call-up could hit County hopes
1:33pm Tuesday 11th February 2014 in Sport
WHILE all the talk around the England cricket team has been about the end of Kevin Pietersen's international career, Moeen Ali's call-up has almost slipped under the radar in the wider media.
The all-rounder's inclusion in the senior national squad for the first time is not only a huge feather in his cap personally but also some much-needed good news for Worcestershire.
At a time when the County have seen star bowler Alan Richardson leave for rivals Warwickshire and the floodwaters once again swamp New Road, there has not been much to cheer about.
But Moeen's call-up has changed all that, in the short-term at least. It is not often Worcestershire can lay claim to an England international, even less so one that has come through their own ranks from an early age.
It is no less than the 26-year-old deserves and just reward for his efforts both during the 2013 season and with the England Performance Squad during the Ashes tour.
But it could have wider implications for Steve Rhodes' side.
Last season, alongside Richardson, Moeen (pictured) was the stand-out player as Worcestershire struggled to make an impact in all forms of the game.
Without his scores with the bat, including a career-best 250 against Glamorgan, not to mention 55 wickets, things would have been much bleaker.
Not surprisingly, he won the club's player-of-the-year and was also named Professional Cricketers' Association player-of the-year and crowned FTI Most Valuable Player.
Now he has the chance to show his ability on the international stage at the forthcoming limited-overs series in West Indies and the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
But there is a flip side to this success. Moeen will now miss all of the County's 2014 warm-up programme and, if England reach the latter stages of Twenty20 tournament, the opening match at Hampshire on April 6 as well.
The possibility of him earning call-ups for the summer Test and one-day international series against Sri Lanka and India also cannot be ruled out.
Worcestershire already need to replace their front-line bowler, and it is looking increasingly likely that they will have to manage without Moeen on a regular basis too.