Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Will England's Moeen Ali return to Test cricket?

Moeen Ali during an Indian Premier League (IPL) match on Mar 3, 2023. — BCCI
Moeen Ali during an Indian Premier League (IPL) match on Mar 3, 2023. — BCCI

After spinner Jack Leach was ruled out of the Ashes against Australia with a lower back stress fracture, England batting all-rounder Moeen Ali is deliberating on coming back to Test cricket, British media reported.

England skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum have reportedly contacted Moeen — who announced his retirement from Test cricket in September 2021 — to consider a potential return to the longest format of the game.

Moeen was part of Chennai Super Kings' that took home the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) title, and as per British media reports he has been given some time to decide if wants to return.

If Moeen accepts England's call, he will join the squad for the first Test at Edgbaston on 16 June.

Left-armer Leach was ruled out of the five-Test series on Sunday after a scan revealed a stress fracture in his back, BBC reported Tuesday.

Leach’s injury is a significant blow to England since he is the only bowler to have played in all 13 Tests since Stokes and McCullum took charge last summer.

Without Leach — and with fast bowler Jofra Archer also ruled out due to an elbow injury — England’s options were few. Moeen, however, could be an ideal replacement.

Despite the fact that he has not played a red-ball game since his last Test in September 2021, he is still arguably the premier spinner in England.

Moeen has taken 195 Test wickets — only two England spinners have surpassed this record.

Moeen made his Test debut in 2014 and scored 2,914 runs in 64 Tests at an average of 28.29.