JOSH Healey (@joshhealey04) has pinpointed some early value for the forthcoming Pakistan v England series.
Pakistan v England | Top England Bowler | 13th October – 5th November 2015
You can guarantee the majority of the money will be wagered on the spinners in the top series bowler markets, but is that justified? How often does spin rule in the UAE?
Nine Test series have been contested there. For Pakistan, a spinner has claimed most wickets in 7/9, whilst for the touring sides that’s 6/9. England were whitewashed 3-0 here in 2012, and it was cult hero and slow left-armer Monty Panesar who topped the wicket charts then.
Clearly spin is dominant. That is not just down to the turning pitches and lack of swing and seam, but also the weather. The intense heat means in most cases the quicks have to be used in short bursts to prevent burnout.
Although reverse swing will come into play as the ball ages, it’s unlikely there will be long spells of pace as we see in England; instead the spinners are likely to form the lion’s share of the bowling effort.
Both Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace have pointed towards starting two spinners; that will surely be Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid. The latter will be debuting and is an unknown quantity in the Test arena, whilst the former boasts a solid if unspectacular career to date, having taken 45 wickets in 16 games.
Moeen is available at 5/1 and Rashid 4/1, but which of them is worth investing in? Moeen was unfairly thrust into the role of England’s frontline spinner, and his performances have to be admired. Of course he has endured plenty of off-days, but he deserves our patience considering he has been forced into learning his trade in the international arena.
In five series the Worcestershire man has never topped the wicket charts for England, but the dustbowls of the UAE serve up a fine opportunity to break his duck. If he can achieve a flowing rhythm akin to this fluent strokeplay then the rewards will come.
Although Rashid will offer a serious threat, I’m unwilling to back a debutant leg-spinner at a paltry 4/1. He could get off to a flier, but it’s more likely it will take time for him to bed in. As a result, I am snapping up the 5/1 from Ladbrokes on Moeen claiming top series bowler. Not only does he offer better value, but he is the safer bet too.
It’s worth noting the all-rounder notched a respectable 12 wickets in the Ashes, and his 19 wickets against India last year highlight his potential. If he harnesses the spin-friendly conditions, Moeen could enjoy his best series to date this autumn.
Pakistan v England – Moeen Ali Top England Bowler (5/1 Ladbrokes)