Former England spinner Graeme Swann says he “can’t see how” Moeen Ali fits into the team for the final Ashes Test against Australia in Sydney.
Moeen, 30, has taken only three wickets with his off-spin and averages 19 with the bat in the first four Tests.
“His place in the team has to be in jeopardy. His confidence has to be rock bottom,” Swann told BBC Sport.
Australia held on to draw the fourth Test in Melbourne on Saturday and preserve their 3-0 series lead.
The fifth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground starts on 4 January (23:30 GMT on 3 January).
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Worcestershire’s Moeen has made five centuries and taken 131 wickets in 48 Tests since making his debut in 2014, but has struggled on his first Ashes tour.
England could give 20-year-old leg-spinner Mason Crane his Test debut at the SCG, which traditionally aids spinners.
“I feel for Mo. He’s fighting demons at the moment,” said Swann, who took 255 wickets in 60 Tests and won the Ashes three times.
“His confidence is so low that when he bowls there are no revolutions on the ball, no energy in his action.
“Unless they play two spinners in Sydney, I can’t see how you could fit Moeen into the team.
“I would like to have a look at Mason Crane. He should be bowling every day in the nets. He should be as ready as you can be to play a Test match.”
Moeen has big future with England – Root
Moeen’s preparations for the Ashes series were hampered by a side strain that meant he could play in only one of the three warm-up games.
He then suffered a cut to his spinning finger in the first Test defeat in Brisbane.
“Moeen has had a tough tour,” said England captain Joe Root.
“We have had a number of guys respond well to a difficult few weeks already here, and there’s no reason why Moeen can’t do that.
“He will have a big future for England. It is important that everyone knows that.”
‘Right thing for Moeen to leave him out’
Moeen has managed only one wicket since Brisbane and was overlooked in favour of part-time leg-spinner Dawid Malan at times on the final day in Melbourne.
At one stage on the fifth day, Australia were four wickets down with a lead of only 14 runs.
However, on a placid, unresponsive surface, the home side were taken to a draw by captain Steve Smith’s unbeaten 102, his third century of the series.
“We will never know if a win would have been possible if England had had a high-class spinner,” said former England captain Michael Vaughan.
“If you can’t bowl on the last day when the team is bowling for victory, then you can’t really play.”
Moeen made 20 off 14 balls in England’s first-innings 491. He was dropped at long-off before he cut off-spinner Nathan Lyon to short cover.
“His batting looked like he had a muddled mind and wasn’t thinking clearly,” added Vaughan, who played 82 Tests and led England to victory in the 2005 Ashes.
“People will say that he tried to be positive, but this was the perfect pitch to bat on. It really concerned me that he thought that was the way to go on this wicket.
“England generally don’t change, but you have got to look after the individual. It would be doing the right thing by Moeen to leave him out.”
Source: BBC Here