London: England skipper Joe Root has said that allrounder Moeen Ali’s retirement from Test cricket was a huge loss for him as well as for “the group” for “so many different reasons”, and added that he was “underappreciated” for his efforts.
Ali, 34, who made his Test debut back in 2014 and went on to represent England in 64 Test matches, scoring 2,914 Test runs with his highest being an unbeaten 155, had said in a statement on Monday that, “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.”
Paying tribute to Ali, who is currently in UAE playing for the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League, Root said, “First and foremost, it goes without saying that Mo’s (Moeen) career speaks for itself and what he has achieved,” Root was quoted as saying.
“He’s done some wonderful things in Test cricket. He’s been one of the great guys to play alongside. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sharing that dressing room with him and we’ve had so many wonderful memories, on the field and off the field.”
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Under Root, Ali played 27 of his 64 Tests. “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. 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. I’ll certainly remember a lot of amazing things that he has achieved. Of course, there might have been times we could have done things slightly differently, but I could say that about a lot of things.”
One of the reasons being attributed to Ali’s surprising decision to call it a day despite the fact that he was on the threshold of 3,000 Test runs and 200 Test wickets, was the fact that he was not considered for selection in the first three Tests of the 2021 summer, including the drawn opening Test against India at Trent Bridge, despite bagging eight wickets at Chennai earlier this year.
However Root said it was unlikely that was the reason for Ali’s Test retirement. “I’ve spoken to him in the past week and the way he has dealt with it has been, as you’d expect, first-class. But he’ll be a huge loss to the group for so many different reasons. But more than anything I just want to wish him well for everything he has got coming up and the rest of his career because he’s still going to go on and achieve so many great things, I’m certain of it. I think at times he has been underappreciated. Not within the dressing room but outside of that. He’ll be a huge loss. 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. I just wish him every success in everything he chooses to do from now. Hopefully there’s a lot of cricket I can still get to play with him in the ODI side with England as well.”