Saeed Ajmal return can help Moeen Ali - coach Steve Rhodes

Moeen Ali was in England's Cricket World Cup team down under
Moeen Ali took four wickets for England at the Cricket World Cup in March

Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes says that Saeed Ajmal's return to New Road can only be of help to fellow spinner Moeen Ali.

The England all-rounder's absence from the one-day international squad gives him a chance to rediscover his best form over the next month at Worcester.

And the fact that has coincided with Ajmal's arrival is a big bonus.

"He's not shy on giving his thoughts on spin bowling and that can only be a good thing for Moeen," said Rhodes.

Moeen made the bigger impact of the two returning stars last Friday, when his 90 off 60 balls earned a 14-run over Northants in the T20 Blast.

He then took a respectable 1-30 and hit 36 before becoming one among an untimely clatter of cheap wickets when his team lost by 11 runs to Nottinghamshire at New Road on Sunday.

Moeen's international progress
Moeen Ali has played 11 Tests, 22 one-day internationals and seven Twenty20 matches since making his England debut in February 2014

Ajmal, by contrast, went for 55 runs from four overs at Northampton, although he did take three wickets, but two days later produced a far more economical return of 1-26.

"Mo played really well for us at Northampton on Friday night and against Notts," Rhodes told BBC Hereford & Worcester. "It's healthy for him having Saeed around.

"Saeed's a natural competitor. Getting results for the team is the most important thing, but I'm really pleased with what I see from him. I'm sure he's going to have a good season for us.

"It was quite a tough one one for him at Northampton on Friday night. He went for quite a few but he picked up three crucial wickets. And on Sunday he bowled very well and went for 20-odd.

Worcestershire and Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal
Ajmal took 12 wickets in 11 T20 games for Worcestershire in 2014 at an average of less than a run a ball

"He's still got that reputation and we're excited to have him back in the dressing room."

Rhodes' only frustration on Sunday was that West Indian Darren Sammy's contribution to the 24 runs that came off the final over from left-armer Jack Shantry decided the match.

But Rhodes was still enthused by the efforts of his own side's big hitter Ross Whiteley, who, like Sammy, also cleared the ropes four times - one of which also cleared the stand at long on and landed in the Diglis End car park.

"It was marvellous hitting by Ross Whiteley. He hits the ball further than all our batters. He has such a high back lift and a big follow through. We're very happy we don't have to bowl against him," he said.

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