Moeen Ali: England’s all-rounder withdraws from trial cricket
England’s all-rounder Moeen Ali has announced his retirement from test cricket but will continue to play in limited internationals.
Moeen, 34, scored 2,914 points and won 195 wickets in 64 tests, having made his debut against Sri Lanka in 2014.
He won the 50th World Cup in 2019 and is in England preliminary team for this year’s T20 World Cup.
“I want to play as long as possible and I just want to enjoy my cricket,” Moeen said.
“I enjoyed Test Cricket but the intensity can be too much at times and I feel like I’ve done enough and I’m happy and satisfied with what I did.”
Moeen added that Test Cricket was “far better than any other format” and “more rewarding” when it played well.
The left-handed hitter and cross-spinner hit five centuries and completed five runs from five wickets in tests, finishing with a batting average of 28.29 and a bowling average of 36.66.
Only 15 bowlers have taken over try wickets for England and Moeen is ranked third among English spinners, behind Derek Underwood (297) and Graeme Swann (255).
In 2017, Moeen became the fifth fastest player in terms of games played to reach 2,000 points and 100 wickets, also securing a hat-trick against South Africa that year to seal a series victory at The Oval.
He was part of the 2015 Ashes winning squad, but struggled in the 2017-18 series in Australia and took a break from cricket after being abandoned in the 2019 Ashes at home.
Moeen was not recalled to the test team before the Sri Lanka tour in January this year, but failed both tests after contract the coronavirus and spent 14 days in isolation.
He finally made his comeback in the second test in India in February, taking eight wickets, before returning home under England’s rotation policy ahead of the final two tests.
He played three of England’s four home tests against India this summer before the fifth was called off due to Covid-19 concerns.
If the fifth test had taken place, Moeen could only have become the 15th player in test history to score 3,000 points and win 200 wickets.
Following the T20 World Cup in Oman and the United Arab Emirates in October and November, England will face Australia in the Test Ashes series of five which begins on December 8.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there would be “no special offers” for families of English cricketers to be allowed to travel and some players to consider opting out due to strict Covid-19 protocols .
Moeen, who has also made 112 one-day internationals and 38 T20s, has two young children and thanked his family for their support.
“They have all been amazing in my journey, everything I have done, I have done it for them,” he said.
“My brothers and my sister, on my bad days they were the first to come and get me, my wife and my children, my wife’s sacrifices and the patience she shows, I’m really grateful for that .
“My parents are my number one, I think without their support I would never have been able to get by.”
Moeen also thanked former coach Peter Moores, current head coach Chris Silverwood, former captain Sir Alastair Cook and current skipper Joe Root.
He added that he hoped his testing career would inspire other British Muslims to play for England.
“I wish that one day, in 10 years, someone would say ‘Moeen made it easy for me’,” he said.
“There were guys before me who made it easy, so you’re hoping to open the door for someone else.”
He is currently in the United Arab Emirates where he plays for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
He captained Birmingham Phoenix in the inaugural Men’s Hundred this summer and is expected to continue playing white ball cricket nationally for Worcestershire.
“A huge loss” for the test team – Root
England test captain Root said Moeen would be “a huge loss” for the team and wished the all-rounder “every success in whatever he chooses to do”.
Root added that Moeen had “been underestimated at times” outside the locker room but never inside.
Moeen reached his first century of trying in just his second game and scored four tons in 2016, but never added to that tally, also beating in all positions between one and nine for England.
Root said there “might have been times when we could have done things slightly differently” when asked about England’s handling of Moeen, but added: “I could say that about a lot of things “.
He said Moeen had been “a wonderful role model” and he hoped young boys and girls “will want to follow in his footsteps because he has done fabulous things”.
“The way he holds himself is fantastic. He leaves a legacy,” Root added.
Analysis – Moeen leaves Ash Hole for England
BBC Sport’s Stephan Shemilt
Only two spinners – Derek Underwood and Graeme Swann – have taken more test wickets for England than Moeen, but you wonder if he is ending his career as slightly underrated.
At its best, Moeen’s bat was so elegant that an average of 28 is a modest comeback, and the frustrations over those returns overshadowed its value on the ball. Maybe if he had been a tail bunny, his place as a melon would never have been questioned.
Without him, and possibly Ben Stokes, England face a problem balancing their team Ashes. How do they keep their stick long, do they play enough crimps and a specialized spinner?
Moeen admitted that the demands of an Ashes tour played a role in that decision, with the upcoming trip possibly the most arduous since the players traveled by boat.
The England and Wales Cricket Council has received information from Cricket Australia on the conditions and restrictions that tourists will face. There will be back and forth between the two tables before it is presented to England players at the end of this week.
After that, players will make individual decisions on their participation before a team is named in the week starting October 4. By then, some will already be on their way to the Twenty20 World Cup.