‘There’s things I’ll regret not doing slightly differently’: England captain Joe Root insists he could have done more to get Moeen Ali the appreciation he deserves after all-rounder’s Test retirement
- England all-rounder Moeen Ali has retired from Test Match cricket
- The 34-year-old made his Test debut in 2014 and went on to play 64 times
- During that time he took 195 Test wickets and scored five Test match centuries
- Moeen wants to focus on enjoying his cricket as he looks to prolong his career
- The star player will still represent England at next month’s T20 World Cup
Joe Root believes he could have done more as England captain to ensure Moeen Ali gained the full appreciation his Test career deserves.
Root on Monday paid tribute to Moeen, who has confirmed his Test retirement after 64 games that brought him nearly three thousand runs and almost 200 wickets with his off-spin.
But the England captain also admitted he could have better handled a player who suffered for his versatility and commitment to the team, notably when he was regularly shuffled up and down the batting order.
Joe Root believes he could have done more as England captain to help Moeen Ali
‘I think at times he was under-appreciated,’ said Root. ‘Not within the dressing room but outside of it. ‘I’ll certainly remember a lot of amazing times but when I’m finished as captain there are things I’ll regret not doing slightly differently.’
Principal among those regrets is England’s handling of Moeen in 2019 when, despite taking more Test wickets than anyone in the world over the previous 12 months, he was dropped after just one bad performance against Australia at the start of the Ashes.
Moeen, 34, who had lost his place in the one-day side during the triumphant World Cup campaign earlier that summer, asked to take a short break from Test cricket but then saw England remove his full central contract. It proved to be, despite a couple of false dawns since, the beginning of the end of his red-ball England career.
Moeen made a total of 64 Test appearances for England after making his debut in 2014
‘That did break me a little bit,’ Moeen told the Guardian on Monday. ‘I had a poor game, yes, and rightly got dropped. I don’t mind getting dropped if you’re not playing well.
‘I look back and it’s no excuse but towards the end of the World Cup I didn’t play. We then had a Test against Ireland in which I hardly bowled and then we just had two days indoor training before the Ashes because it rained so much. I felt I was at the peak of my bowling before then but I didn’t get the preparation I needed.’
Root preferred not to dwell on what he could have done differently to help Moeen and instead hailed a significant cricketer who will carry on playing in white-ball formats for England and in domestic and franchise cricket.
‘He’s achieved some wonderful things in Test cricket and he’s been one of the great guys to play alongside,’ added the England captain. ‘He’s also been a wonderful role model and I hope on the back of what he has done there will be many young boys and girls who will want to follow in his footsteps. He’ll be a huge loss to us and Test cricket.’