England send out Moeen Ali SOS for the Ashes: Brendon McCullum approaches spinner to come out of Test retirement after Jack Leach was ruled out with a back injury
- Jack Leach has been ruled out of the Ashes with a lower back stress fracture
- England are looking for a spin replacement ahead of the five-match series
- They have approached Moeen Ali, who called time on his Test career last year
England have asked Moeen Ali if he would be available for selection as they look to resolve their Ashes problems after spinner Jack Leach was ruled out of the series with a lower back stress fracture.
Moeen, who has played 64 Tests and retired from Test cricket in 2021 just months before England’s tour to Australia, turned down an approach from Brendon McCullum last year before the trip to Pakistan revealing to Mail Sport that he told the England Head Coach: ‘Sorry, I’m done’.
But he has been approached by McCullum again and the lure of playing one final Ashes series for his country may prove too good to resist for the 35-year-old after England’s SOS call.
If Moeen is available and selected, he will join England’s squad ahead of next week’s first Test at Edgbaston.
Mail Sport understands that Moeen is considering his options. He is contracted to play for Warwickshire in the T20 Blast and undertake media duties for BBC during The Ashes.
England have asked Moeen Ali if he will consider playing in this summer’s Ashes
Ali turned down the chance to play for Brendon McCullum’s side last year, but has been approached once more to check on his availability for the Ashes
The approach comes after Jack Leach was ruled out of the series with a back injury
The 35-year-old last played first-class cricket in 2021 and though he was out of the side for two years after he was dropped followed the Edgbaston Ashes Test in 2019, he is England’s only experienced available spin option for the summer ahead after Leach’s injury.
Leach is the only bowler to have played all 13 Tests under Ben Stokes and McCullum while 18-year-old Rehan Ahmed was the last spinner other than Leach to play a Test for England, when both he and Leach featured against Pakistan in December.
Leg-spinner Ahmed took 5-48 on debut while Surrey’s off-spinning all-rounder Will Jacks played the first two Tests of the same series.
With 195 wickets across 64 Tests and with three-left handers in Australia’s top six, Moeen’s off-spin would certainly come into play while his style of batting would fit right with the style of ‘Bazball’.
Despite playing all five Tests during England’s success in the 2015 Ashes, Moeen has taken only 20 wickets in 11 Ashes Tests at an average of 64 in his career.
But who knows what could happen under Stokes? He will certainly be given the freedom to bat how he likes and captain Stokes will back him with the ball, with attacking fields.
Moeen did consider a return for the Pakistan series last winter after an initial approach from McCullum but later decided that his Test cricket career was done as he prioritised franchise cricket,
Now, less than a year on, he has been approached again by his country in a remarkable twist just ten days before one of the most eagerly anticipated Ashes series of modern times.
Ali has an underwhelming Ashes record, but could thrive under the captaincy of Ben Stokes