All-rounder Moeen Ali will take a break from red-ball cricket and won’t be up for selection for England’s Test tours of New Zealand and South Africa.
Moeen’s decision comes after being left out of England’s list of centrally contracted Test players, announced on Friday, 20 September. He had lost his place in the Test side after the first Ashes Test, which England lost.
Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Moeen said he wanted a chance to “recharge his batteries” after a busy summer. “It’s just to get away from it a little bit,” he said. “I feel like I want to enjoy my batting and this will give me a bit of a break.
“I want to spend some time with the family. I’ve been playing for England for five years and it’s been quite tough. The intensity is obviously higher in Test cricket, so this is just to give me a break and then we will see what happens after that.”
Moeen didn’t rule out playing Test cricket in the future, and Ashley Giles, the ECB managing director, reiterated that the all-rounder has not retired from Test cricket. “He just wants a little bit of a break from Test cricket,” said Giles.
“He’s been a great servant to this team and that’s why I encouraged him to leave that option open for him to come back. He might just need that time away and freshen up, but he’s been a really good servant to this team and he’s relatively young.”
In the year up to losing his place in the Test side, Moeen had taken more wickets in Test cricket than anyone else. However, having been a permanent fixture in the England side in all three formats, Moeen endured a difficult 2019 summer. He was dropped from the ODI side in place of Liam Plunkett and then made two Test appearances before losing his place to Jack Leach.
Giles added: “I think for all the guys, not just talking about Moeen, it’s been a really challenging summer. A World Cup and an Ashes back-to-back has had a massive effect on many of these guys, psychologically as much as physically. Some of those guys are still carrying that. His experience in the first Test wasn’t a great one but that’s cricket.”
Moeen, however, has retained his white-ball contract, and figures to be a key figure in both the limited-overs sides.