First player ever to score more than 250 runs and take 25 wickets in a four-match Test series, a sporting hero of summer 2017 who was the first England spinner since 1930 to do so when he took a hat trick in the Third Test against South Africa. He went on to become Man of the Match and Man of Series in the final Test.
Moeen’s interest and ability in cricket was stirred years before he arrived at Moseley School. Indeed by 1990, at age three, he was learning how to hold a bat and turn a ball over with his father and other siblings in the back garden of the family home in Sparkhill.
His dad even turned part of the garden over to a cricket net and installed a bowling machine. After arriving home from the local primary school he would go with brothers, cousins and friends to the nearby pitch in the park off Stoney Lane and at age nine announced a proper cricketer was all he wanted to be. Moeen began to realise his ambition during his years at Moseley and was to captain the school team in a period when the side was unbeaten.
Besides the encouragement he received at Moseley, where Birmingham League side Attock CC play home matches on the school field, Moeen and his brother were taken by his dad to see Moseley Ashfield, who immediately saw the potential.
A recent BBC Radio 4 profile of Moeen to be heard on our archives on the Association website – recalled how at age 13 he scored three centuries for Ashfield in one season of 20-over games, one of his scores being 195 not out against Solihull Blossomfield, several times hitting the ball out of the ground.
By age 15 he was signed onto Warwickshire CC’s books, developed his bowling in numerous matches over the next four seasons before leaving to join Worcestershire in 2006. Here he has flourished into an acknowledged all-rounder with his glut of runs in 2013 leading to his first call-up for England and in 2014 a first international century against Sri Lanka.
While a great team player, Moeen has developed his own formula to ensure he has space as a devout Muslim, demonstrated in many ways including his flowing beard, cultivated since age 18. He insists on fasting during Ramadan, even when playing demanding, energy-sapping games, does not drink “with the boys” and when appearing for the team photograph after the series win against South Africa he discreetly walked away before the champagne cascaded over fellow players.