Moeen Ali will announce his retirement from Test cricket on Monday morning after advising Joe Root, England captain, and Chris Silverwood, head coach and national coach, of the decision last week.
Moeen had reflected on his future Test with those close to him during the recent Indian series after the 34-year-old all-rounder began to question his ability to focus in the longer format. His decision came before details of quarantine and living conditions for the Ashes tour of Australia were sent to the England and Wales Cricket Board on Friday.
While England are optimistic the announced arrangements will not trigger a series of withdrawals, Moeen simply believes he has finished his run after 64 test caps and is now looking to specialize in white ball cricket for England , in county cricket for Worcestershire and the Twenty20 national tournaments. . He plays for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League on a £ 700,000 contract.
Silverwood and Root were understanding as they mulled over their Ashes plans – Moeen is still part of the setup looking to win the T20 World Cup ahead of this tour – and shared their gratitude for a testing career that began in 2014 and returned five centuries, 195 wickets, 28 Test wins and nine series wins.
A mainstay of the test squad until the 2019 Ashes, Moeen returned against India this summer when, in the absence of Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, the squad needed a proven all-rounder to balance the team. Although the comeback was one of the only fleeting inspirations, Root elevated him to vice-captain for the fourth test at the Oval when Jos Buttler was on paternity leave.
Had the fifth test not been called off, Moeen might have even become the 15th player in test history to score 3,000 career races and claim 200 wickets. As it stands, and perhaps rightly so for a career that has often left fans wanting more, he completed 84 races and five wickets before joining an elite group of cricketers that includes Ian Botham, Imran Khan and Garfield Sobers.
A final batting average of 28.29 fell short of expectations for an elegant southpaw who pulled off an unbeaten challenge of 108 against Sri Lanka in his second test, but went on to occupy all positions one through nine to meet the needs of the team.
As an offensive offensive player who drifts, dives and spins, but also sometimes struggles to contain the beaters, he won the game in his day; only Derek Underwood (297 wickets) and Graeme Swann (255) have more test kills among England spinners, while his five five-wicket runs have only been surpassed by Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad since his debut.
There were significant highs, including 25 wickets and 252 points in the 3-1 win over South Africa in 2017 – a series that included a hat-trick to seal the victory at the Oval – and England at the bowling to win home series against India in 2014 and 2018. In 2016, he compiled four centuries of testing in the calendar year, a feat only Root and Alastair Cook recorded among the English in the over the past decade.
But form has fluctuated wildly trying to balance the demands of three formats – only Root (248) and Buttler (231) have played more times for England since Moeen won the first of 214 caps – and there is had dips along the way. Despite winning the Ashes in 2015, the 2017-18 away streak was his toughest time, averaging 19 with the bat and 115 with the ball in a 4-0 loss.
That experience, his intuition during the Indian series and the prospect of months on the road this winter all contributed to his recent decision to specialize. But overall, his testing career may well become one of the most important of recent times, both as a role model for the British Asian community and as a top and popular Muslim athlete who has flaunted his faith openly and proudly.