England all-rounder Moeen Ali, has announced his retirement from the longer format of the game. As per ESPNcricinfo, he was not comfortable with the time he had to stay away from home in the upcoming months due to the T20 World Cup and then for Ashes as well.
Moeen Ali has so far played 64 Tests. He is currently in the UAE, where he has been playing for Chennai Super Kings in the second leg of the IPL 2021. And, he is expected to have informed Chris Silverwood and Joe Root, the head coach of England and the Test captain respectively. However, he will be active in limited-overs cricket as well as in county and franchise cricket as well.
“I felt like I was done, to be honest,” he said. “I was hoping to play the last Test – there were a couple of milestones I wanted to pass – but once that game got called off, I realised that was it.”
"I just wasn't in it"
Moeen Ali tells us why he decided to call time on his Test career pic.twitter.com/V15pzkVS2x
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) September 27, 2021
“Headingley was a great win but I just found I couldn’t concentrate. I’ve played rash shots before and had poor games before. But I just felt like I wasn’t in it. I’ve never felt that before. It’s not that I didn’t want to perform, I just didn’t feel like I was fully wholeheartedly into it,” he continued.
Ali further shared: “You try your best. I just found it really hard to get in the zone bowling, batting and in the field. And the more I tried, I just couldn’t do it. In the past when I came back into the team, it might take a bit of time but then I’m all in. But that series, I just couldn’t do it. The atmosphere felt really good. It was really nice to be back in the dressing room. But I just found cricketing-wise it was a bit of a struggle.”
“That did break me a little bit” – Moeen Ali on getting an annual contract
However, he became irregular in the Test for England in recent times and he was asked to play multiple roles as well as batted everywhere from No. 1 to No. 9 – to accommodate others as well. Even the dependency on his bowling seemed less as Ed Smith, then the national selector said “the role of first-choice spinner might not be best suited to him”. And, then, he was not given a full central contract at the end of 2019, which saw a strange relationship of him with the team management as well.
“That did break me a little bit,” he shared about the decision not to give him a full central contract. “I felt like I had a poor game [at Edgbaston in 2019] and rightly got dropped. But I felt I was at my peak in my bowling to that point.
“If you look back now, I didn’t play towards the back end of the World Cup. We then had a Test against Ireland in which I hardly bowled and then two days of training for the first Ashes Test. It rained on those days, so I bowled indoors. So, I didn’t really get the preparation I would have liked and I didn’t bowl very well in that game. But I felt like I was still at the peak of my bowling. Prior to that, I was bowling better than I ever had in Test cricket,” Moeen Ali added.
“And then I didn’t get a contract. I had asked for a break and was told it was because they weren’t sure how much I was going to play. It was very disappointing at the time. So I looked to crack on and play franchise cricket. But then it possibly took too long to make my way back into the team. I didn’t play enough first-class cricket and by the time I did get back into the team for that one Test in Chennai, I was on a different path,” he expressed.
He has a hat-trick, five centuries, five five-fors and some sharp catches in his Test cricket career over recent years. Apart from this, he’s a World Cup winner with more than 200 international caps in his kitty as well, along with an IPL contract as well.
“I don’t think I lost interest in Test cricket but I think I lost the ability to do it as best as you can. There was part of me thinking about the Ashes this winter. I would have loved to go back and do well because last time I didn’t do so well. But I just felt like I couldn’t do it for that long. It’s such a long trip if I’m not ‘in it’. If I felt like I did in India when I was out there, then I would probably retire after one match. So it’s done,” Moeen Ali shared.