London: England cricketer Moeen Ali has reportedly told the new head coach of the read-ball team, New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum, that he is planning to come out of Test retirement and join the Ben Stokes-led side.
Moeen had retired from Test cricket in September last year, and at that time the 34-year-old had said he had done so to prolong his white-ball career.
The all-rounder played for Indian Premier League side Chennai Super Kings in their failed season this year, and showed flashes of brilliance with bat and ball.
A report in dailymail.co.uk added that Moeen’s close friend and fellow spinner Adil Rashid “could be tempted too” to come out of retirement.
Strength in depth
While the return to Test cricket is easier said than done, the 40-year-old McCullum, who has been tasked with rebuilding the England Test side, has reportedly kept the duo, along with Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone, in his mind “to lend strength in depth in the England Test squad”, the report said.
Moeen has aggregated 195 wickets and scored 2,914 runs in 64 Tests, and had quit Test cricket last year reportedly citing lack of motivation.
The report, quoting a source, said that Moeen respects McCullum a lot and “would play for him”. “He respects Brendon immensely and would play for him. He’s always been committed to England and wishes to continue. He will assist when required,” the source said.
England are scheduled to play three Tests in Pakistan later this year and McCullum’s task after the home series against New Zealand — beginning at Lord’s on June 2 — will be to look at all viable spin options for the sub-continent’s tour.
Moeen may come into the Test side as early as August during the series in August as his record four years ago in the series against the Proteas was imposing. He scored 252 runs and took 25 wickets at 15, including a hat-trick at The Oval.
After taking over as England Test coach when McCullum was reportedly asked about Moeen and the fact that the veteran all-rounder had retired, the New Zealander has said, “We’ll see. I’m sure if Mo (Moeen) wanted to, and was prepared to put the yards in to make it back into the side, then he’d challenge, no doubt.”
Leg-spinner Rashid’s return to Test cricket might be a little more “complicated”, according to the report, as he has not played any kind of first-class cricket since the Bridgetown Test in January 2019.
“I’m not sure someone like Adil would play every game every year anyway,” said McCullum. “But my mentality is, if they’re the best cricketers, why not have conversation and see where you get to?” said McCullum.