Moeen Ali was one of the four retentions of the Chennai franchise. He was an important part of the team’s title-winning effort last year. The Chennai team depends a lot on Moeen as he adds a lot of balance to the team. However, the all-rounder is yet to join the squad in Mumbai due to a visa delay. Moeen is still stuck in Birmingham, awaiting visa clearance from the Indian high commission in London.
The CEO of the Chennai team, Kasi Viswanathan, confirmed that Moeen Ali will miss the opening game against Kolkata. “It is almost certain that Moeen Ali will miss the first game. He has still not got the visa. We are on it as well as BCCI. Hope it is sorted in a day or two,” he said as quoted by Cricbuzz.
Notably, Moeen Ali has his descents from Pakistan. His grandfather migrated to England from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir but the cricketer was born in England. According to Viswanathan, the delay might be because of a particular set of procedures followed for players of Pakistan descent.
The CEO of the team also said that even if the player receives his visa by Thursday, he will surely miss the opening match of the team. This is because the player will have to undergo a three-day mandatory quarantine before he can join the Indian T20 League bio-bubble.
Moeen was instrumental in Chennai’s efforts last year. In 15 innings, he scored 357 runs and also picked up 6 wickets with his off-spin. More than the numbers, the fact that he used to come in at 3 and play some momentum-changing knocks is important. Chennai will definitely miss his services in the first game.
Besides Moeen Ali, Chennai will be also be missing Deepak Chahar. Chahar’s absence will be longer though. Due to the right quadriceps injury that he suffered in the T20I series against West Indies, he will be missing the first half of the Indian T20 League. When asked about Chahar’s development, Viswanathan said- “He will remain in the NCA until he gets fitness clearance from the BCCI.”