Moeen Ali says ‘door is open’ for England Test return under Brendon McCullum

The 34-year-old called time on his Test career last September after 64 appearances over seven years.

By Press Association Published: 1 June 2022 - 9.30pm

Moeen Ali has revealed “the door is open” to an England Test comeback after new head coach Brendon McCullum offered him the chance to reverse his retirement.

The 34-year-old, who has just received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, called time on his Test career last September after 64 appearances over seven years.

At the time he stated: “I’ve enjoyed Test cricket but that intensity can be too much sometimes and I feel like I’ve done enough of it.”

“Baz (McCullum) messaged me asking if I was 'in'. We've had a chat and maybe in the future, potential tours or whatever, who knows?”
- Moeen Ali

But McCullum suggested last week that he was keen to open a dialogue with the likes of Moeen and fellow spinner Adil Rashid, who has been operating as a white-ball specialist for a number of years.

When told that his old Royal Challengers Bangalore team-mate had retired, the New Zealander replied: “We’ll see.”

Now it seems Moeen, who is tantalisingly close to a couple of milestones with 195 Test wickets and 2,914 runs under his belt, could be persuaded.

He said: “Baz (McCullum) messaged me asking if I was ‘in’. We’ve had a chat and maybe in the future, potential tours or whatever, who knows?”

England Nets Session and Press Conference – Lord’s – Wednesday June 1st
Moeen has had contact from England’s new Test head coach Brendon McCullum, pictured (Adam Davy/PA)

“I have played with him in the Indian Premier League and really enjoyed the way he works. We spoke and he mentioned potentially, in the future, if there is a tour – or whenever, really – would I be available? I said ‘Call me at the time’. We’ll see – if and when he calls me, we’ll chat.

“The door is open. It’s always exciting when there is a new chapter and you would like to be a part of it. We had the same after the 2015 World Cup – what role you can play? In the white-ball stuff, it didn’t matter who was in the team or for how long, it was just making a difference for England. We’ll see.”

As a British Asian with Pakistani heritage, this winter’s Test tour of the country could be an attractive option for Moeen.

England have not visited since 2005 and are likely to need more than one spinner, meaning he would not be displacing incumbent slow bowler Jack Leach.

England v India – cinch Second Test – Day Four – Lord’s
Moeen, right, distanced himself from suggestions he was disillusioned under former captain Joe Root (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“I don’t want to disrespect Leachy. It’s a difficult job – especially in England – and I know that,” he said.

“I back him, I’m right behind him. I don’t want to put anything on him or put any pressure there, because he’s a fantastic bowler.”

Moeen is also careful to distance himself from suggestions that he walked away due to disillusionment with former captain Joe Root, who has since passed the baton to Ben Stokes.

“I saw stuff about me not enjoying it under Rooty, but I did. He was always good to me,” he said.

“As an individual, he’s the best I have had. He’s a friend of mine and a great guy. When I retired I just found it hard to get going. I had a few niggles, I was tired, I wasn’t enjoying cricket as much as I should.”

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