Moeen Ali officially joins England’s Ashes squad after answering Brendon McCullum’s SOS call to come out of Test retirement… replacing injured frontline spinner Jack Leach
Moeen Ali was today officially added to England’s Ashes squad after answering Brendon McCullum’s SOS call to come out of Test retirement.
Moeen replaces the unfortunate Jack Leach, who was ruled out after suffering a stress fracture of the back, and could be thrown straight into the first Test against Australia next week on his home ground of Edgbaston.
The recall of Moeen, who last played in red-ball cricket in his 64th and final Test against India at the Oval two years ago, was initially thought unlikely when it became clear on Sunday that the ever-present Leach would be ruled out of the whole Ashes.
He called time on his Test career to concentrate on white-ball cricket in 2021 and when McCullum made a similar call to him last year and asked him to tour Pakistan the off-spinning all-rounder told the coach ‘sorry, I’m done.’
But England, as first revealed by Mail Sport, decided to turn to Moeen again now rather than throw their hugely promising teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed into the fray, or to take the more conservative choice of plumping for Hampshire’s left-armer Liam Dawson.
Moeen Ali has officially joined England’s Ashes squad after answering their SOS call this week
Ben Stokes (right) and Brendon McCullum (left) asked the spinner to come out of retirement
Jack Leach was forced to drop out after suffering a stress fracture in his back against Ireland
‘We reached out to Mo early this week about returning to Test cricket,’ said England managing director Rob Key. ‘Having had a couple of days to reflect Mo is excited to join the squad and play Test cricket again. His vast experience along with his all-round ability will benefit our Ashes campaign.’
Moeen, who will celebrate his 36th birthday during the first Test, has cored 2,914 Test runs and taken 195 wickets and will be a formidable presence in the England batting order at eight, should England make a decision that is completely in their character and throw him straight into the Ashes fray on June 16.
It is a bold call by England but it is also the right one. Moeen is something of an unfulfilled character at Test level because he was all too often mucked around by previous England regimes and now has the chance to settle some unfinished business against an Australia side he has sometimes struggled against.
England could yet go into Edgbaston with an all-seam attack, which would mean they would not have to make a call between Mark Wood and Stuart Broad for their last seam bowling slot. But they would have no qualms about selecting Moeen to propel his off-breaks at an Australia side with potentially four left-handers in their top seven.