Moeen a huge loss to England Test side, says skipper Root

England's Moeen Ali has retired from Test cricket
England's Moeen Ali has retired from Test cricket

England captain Joe Root hailed Moeen Ali as a role model and said he would be a huge loss to the Test side after the all-rounder announced his decision to quit the longest format of the game on Monday.

Moeen, who made his Test debut in 2014, scored 2,914 runs in 64 Tests at an average of 28.29 and claimed 195 wickets with his nagging off-spin but played little Test cricket since the 2019 Ashes series against Australia.

The 34-year-old took a break from Tests in 2019 after losing out on a central contract before returning the fold in May 2020.

In February, England coach Chris Silverwood apologised for confusion surrounding Moeen's departure from India midway through a Test series after Root said he had chosen to go home when he had actually been granted leave as part of a rotation policy.

Moeen was recalled to the Test side in August for the second match against India in the home summer series and played in two more matches against the tourists.

“There are a number of things I'll look back on when I'm finished as captain, that I could look back on with regret that I could have done slightly differently,” Root told reporters.

“The one thing I will say is when Mo has played, he's been brilliant. You look at the amount of games he has affected, the amount of special moments he has had on a cricket field in the Test match format has been exceptional.”

Root said Moeen, who intends to specialise in white-ball cricket, had not been appreciated enough outside the dressing room and added he would be a “huge loss” to the Test side.

“He's a great personality to have in and around the dressing room, and he's a great brain for younger players to learn from and to feed off,” Root said.

Moeen said in a statement that he was satisfied with his Test career and hoped it would inspire other British Muslims to play for England.

“I've enjoyed Test cricket but that intensity can be too much sometimes and I feel like I’ve done enough of it and I’m happy and content with how I've done,” he said.

“It always takes somebody to inspire you ... I know he wasn't English but someone like (former SA batter) Hashim Amla, when I first saw him, I thought if he can do it I can do it, it does take that little spark.

“I'd love (for someone) one day in 8-10 years’ time to say Moeen made it easier for me.”

In an interview with the Guardian and ESPNCricinfo, the 34-year-old said he was struggling to focus on Test cricket and now intends to specialise in white-ball cricket.

“During the India series I felt like I was done, to be honest,” he said.

“I felt good, the atmosphere felt good, the dressing room and so on, but cricketing-wise, I found it a struggle to get in the zone bowling and batting and in the field. And the more I tried, I just couldn’t do it.”

England's next Test series is against Australia in the Ashes starting in December.

“I was thinking about the Ashes and how I would love to have gone back and done well there,” Moeen added.

“But it's such a long trip if I'm not 'in it' and I think it'd be very, very difficult.” 

— Reuters



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