England skipper Joe Root is excited to have Moeen Ali back in the Test setup, and regarded the Worcestershire all-rounder as “a wonderful cricketer across formats”. A day before he was recalled, Moeen blasted a quickfire half-century for Birmingham Phoenix against Welsh Fire at The Hundred.
Moeen Ali last played in whites for England during their away Test series against India earlier this year. In the only game he featured in - the second of the four Tests in Chennai - he returned with eight wickets, before striking a quickfire 43 as his side neared a massive defeat. The all-rounder has been an irregular feature in the longest version for the last two years, owing to ECB’s rest and rotation policy. His last Test at home dates further back to 2019 - the opening game of the home Ashes series at Edgbaston.
Moeen has now been recalled to the Test squad ahead of the second game against India at Lord’s. With the batting unit heavily relying on skipper Joe Root and the hosts missing the all-round services of Ben Stokes and Joe Root, the Worcestershire cricketer promises to be a valuable addition to the playing XI.
Root is excited to have Moeen back for the ongoing series, and hinted that he’ll return to the playing XI at Lord’s.
"We've tried to manage things as best we can over a period of time and I've always been a huge fan of Mo," Root said in a press conference on Tuesday. "I think he's a wonderful cricketer across the formats, I think he's a great ambassador for the game, and it's wonderful to see him back in the Test arena, being back in a Test squad.
"It was a brilliant performance he put in in Chennai and if he gets an opportunity, he'll be desperate to impress and show everyone how good he is in Test cricket as well as white-ball cricket. He's certainly a big contender. We haven't been to the ground yet and we'll look at conditions and weigh things up but he's in a great position to play."
Moeen boasts impressive numbers in home Tests against India, with 31 wickets from seven Tests across the 2014 and 2018 series. He has been in prime white-ball form of late, and struck a 28-ball 59 for Birmingham Phoenix in his most recent outing at The Hundred. Root is confident of Moeen's recent run and further stated that the 34-year-old brings great value with his experience.
"Just to go out there and be Moeen Ali," Root advised his returning teammate. "He has the ability to go out there and win games with bat and ball, he's proven that. He plays his best cricket when he is enjoying it and he's full of confidence - it certainly looks that way at the moment, the way he has taken to the Hundred, the way he has led Birmingham Phoenix.
"I would happily give him a huge amount of responsibility if he does play because he responds extremely well to that," Root added. "He is a leader within the dressing room, a great personality, he drags people with him on the field and in the dressing room, so it will be great to have him back around."