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Adil Rashid and Alex Hales’ focus on white-ball cricket is ‘good decision’ – Moeen Ali

Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid are part of England’s squad for the ODI series against New Zealand
New Zealand v England, first ODI
Venue: Hamilton Date: Sunday, 25 February at 01:00 GMT
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW, BBC Sport website and app. Live text commentaries on the BBC Sport website and app

Adil Rashid and Alex Hales have made a “good decision” to focus solely on limited-overs cricket, says England all-rounder Moeen Ali.

All-rounder Rashid will only play white-ball cricket for Yorkshire during the 2018 season, while opener Hales has signed a new limited-overs deal with Nottinghamshire for the next two years.

England start their five-match ODI series against New Zealand on Sunday.

“It will be great for England long term,” Moeen told Test Match Special.

“We’re going to have real specialists and it’s something a lot of players will probably do further down the line.”

Leg-spinner Rashid, 30, has played 59 one-day and 28 T20 internationals for England, but made the most recent of his 10 Test appearances against India in December 2016.

Hales, 29, has played 58 ODIs and 52 T20s and won the last of his 11 Test caps against Pakistan in August 2016.

Moeen said he felt both could still play Test cricket but their white-ball skills will “improve immensely” by focusing on the one-day formats.

“It’s something they feel they probably need to do to play round the world and in all the tournaments as much as they can,” he added.

England in New Zealand in 2018
25 February 1st ODI with New Zealand, Hamilton (d/n) (01:00 GMT)
28 February 2nd ODI, Mount Maunganui (d/n) (01:00 GMT, moved from Napier)
3 March 3rd ODI, Wellington (Westpac Stadium) (d/n) (01:00 GMT)
7 March 4th ODI, Dunedin (22:00 GMT, 6 Mar)
10 March 5th ODI, Christchurch (22:00 GMT, 9 Mar)
22-26 March 1st Test, Auckland (d/n) (01:00 GMT)
30 March-3 April 2nd Test, Christchurch (22:00 GMT, 29 Mar-2 Apr)

Moeen struggled during the 4-0 Ashes defeat by Australia, taking just five wickets in five Tests at an average of 115.00 and scoring 179 runs at 19.88.

The off-spinner’s form improved during England’s 4-1 ODI series win over Australia in January before he was rested for the recent Twenty20 tri-series in which England failed to reach the final.

“I needed a bit of a break from the game mentally and physically and to just switch off but now I’m ready to go,” he said.

Ben Stokes could make his first England appearance since he was suspended in September in the first ODI at Hamilton on Sunday, starting at 01:00 GMT.

The all-rounder, 26, faces a trial accused of affray following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub and has been cleared by the England and Wales Cricket Board to rejoin the squad.

Coach Trevor Bayliss said it was “unlikely” Stokes would play the first ODI but captain Eoin Morgan has since said the tourists are hopeful the Durham man will be fit in time.

After the ODI series, England play New Zealand in a two-match Test series, starting on 22 March.

New Zealand ODI squad: Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson (capt).

England ODI squad: Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Sam Billings (wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan (capt), Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

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