England national selector Ed Smith has reiterated that all-rounder Moeen Ali has a future at Test level, even though he last represented England in whites in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston eight months ago.
Moeen struggled during that game as England slumped to defeat, conceding figures of 2-130 at nearly 4.5 runs per over as Australia built a match-winning lead, but was the world’s leading Test wicket taker in the year preceding that game, and was England’s leading wicket taker in both their previous multi-game Test series, against West Indies and Sri Lanka.
In September, he was awarded a white-ball contract by the ECB, having previously held an all-format deal, and subsequently took a break from first-class cricket. It was hoped that Moeen would be available for England’s tour to Sri Lanka, since cancelled due to the novel coronavirus, but he opted instead to play in the Pakistan Super League, with some fearing his Test days may be over.
Moeen has hinted that he may wish to resume playing in the longest format for England at some point, writing in the Guardian in December that his absence might lengthen his Test career in the long run, and Smith’s words suggest England are also open to the off-spinner resuming red-ball action at some point.
“The individual case of Moeen is he’s a very valued and respected and talented England player and we would like him to be at his best and available in all formats,” Smith said on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast.
He also said that his relationship with Moeen remains good, with him and fellow selector James Taylor travelling to Birmingham to meet with the Warwickshire player before England’s tour to South Africa. “James and I popped on a train at the end of last year and went up to Birmingham, had a cup of tea with Moeen and sat down and it was just a very natural conversation,” he said.