Moeen out of retirement to join England Ashes squad

England's Moeen Ali walks off after being dismissed against India
Moeen Ali last played a Test, and any red-ball cricket, in September 2021
Venue: Edgbaston Dates: 16-20 June
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All-rounder Moeen Ali has come out of Test retirement to join the England squad for the first two of the five Ashes Tests against Australia.

He reversed his decision after being approached by England captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.

The 35-year-old said he found the Test format “really difficult to get into” when he retired in September 2021.

Rob Key, managing director of England men’s cricket, said: “We reached out to Mo early this week about returning to Test cricket. Having had a couple of days to reflect, Mo is excited to join the squad and play Test cricket again. His vast experience, along with his all-round ability, will benefit our Ashes campaign.

“We wish Mo and the rest of the squad well for the Ashes campaign.”

Moeen, who will turn 36 during the first Test at Edgbaston, has played 64 Tests for England, scoring 2,914 runs and taking 195 wickets.

The off-spinner has a mixed record against Australia, taking 20 wickets in 11 Tests, at an average of 64.65, and scoring 476 runs, at 25.05.

Moeen may come straight into the team for Leach, and will add depth to England’s batting, with him likely to bat at eight.

Stokes and McCullum also have the option of going with an all-pace attack for Edgbaston, with the Test beginning on 16 June.

Short presentational grey line

England squad for first two Ashes Tests: Ben Stokes (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Ollie Pope, Matthew Potts, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Josh Tongue, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Short presentational grey line

‘Short lived but demonstrates seriousness of situation’ – analysis

Jonathan Agnew, BBC cricket correspondent

It demonstrates the seriousness of the situation that England have reached out to a player that hasn’t appeared in first-class cricket for two years.

He’s committed to franchise cricket. Moeen will be part of England’s World Cup squad in the autumn but any return to the Test squad seems short-lived.

This is the situation that England find themselves in and Moeen’s return must dent the hopes of Surrey’s Will Jacks, Hampshire’s Liam Dawson and Leicestershire’s Rehan Ahmed.

It also suggests that Moeen, who will strengthen the batting, will play at Edgbaston with England reluctant to go into the game with an unbalanced four-man pace attack.

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