Birmingham Bears have announced that England all-rounder Moeen Ali will captain the side when he returns to his home city for this year’s Vitality Blast competition.
Mo started his professional Bears journey as a 15-year-old having developed through the Academy and Second XI ranks.
A left-handed batter and right-arm spinner, the 36-year-old is an Ashes, ICC Men’s World Cup and ICC Men’s T20 World Cup winner, as well as a regular in the Indian Premier League.
But he says that having the honour of captaining his boyhood Club is right up there with the proudest moments in his exceptional career.
“I’m really grateful to be given the opportunity to captain my hometown Club,” said Ali. “I grew up just a short walk from Edgbaston, always dreamed of playing at this great stadium when I was a child, and now to be made Captain is something special.
“I’ve had several proud moments in my cricket career but becoming Bears Captain having returned to Edgbaston after 16 years is without doubt one of highlights.
“The squad looks incredible. There’s talent right through the line-up from top to bottom. But what I’m really encouraged about is that there are some young players who like me came up through the pathway and Academy system at Edgbaston.
“We’ve got Glenn Maxwell, Paul Stirling and Hassan Ali to add to the side as well so it’s set to be an exciting season. Our fans need to get some practice in for those crowd catches.”
So far Mo, a product of Moseley School, has scored 6,755 runs in 342 T20 matches, taking 222 wickets.
“Moeen is not only an extremely talented cricketer, but a leader on and off the pitch,” said First Team Coach Mark Robinson.
“Anyone who has spent time with Mo talks positively about his ability to motivate a team, whilst staying calm in the most pressurised moments.
“Mo has led teams in many franchise leagues around the world and I know how excited he is to be a Bear and lead us at Edgbaston. We’re all excited to see him and we’re really looking forward to welcoming him into the changing room.”
Mo will be supported by opener Alex Davies, who will stand-in as captain whilst Mo is playing in the IPL. The pair, alongside Robinson and the coaching staff, have been putting plans in place throughout the winter.
“As a group we’re in regular contact and there’s been plenty of hard work behind the scenes,” Robinson added.
“We spoke prior to our T20 friendlies about our plans, and I was pleased with what the team did across those four matches.
“Last season was a pleasing year for us, and I feel we’re building on top of that. We were disappointed to fall short in the quarter-finals, but we broke plenty of records on the back of some attacking cricket.
“We passed 200 seven times, broke the record of highest T20 score in the Blast and scored four individual hundreds from three players. That was impressive and we’re looking to go one better this year.”
Club Captain Will Rhodes will continue to lead Warwickshire in the LV= Insurance County Championship and One-Day Cup, where he will also be assisted by Davies as Vice Captain.
£15 tickets for home quarter-final
Bears have secured a home Vitality Blast quarter-final which will be on Thursday 6 July, with adult tickets only £15.
Tickets ware available online at tickets.edgbaston.com or on the day via the Ticket Office. Members and Season Pass holders can attend for free by scanning their card at the gate.