Moeen Ali has explained that one of the reasons for his decision to take a break from Test cricket was the feeling that he’d been made a scapegoat for England’s defeats.
The 32-year-old all-rounder was dropped from England’s Test side after the first Ashes Test last summer and in September asked to take an indefinite break from the format.
Speaking to BBC Asian Network, Moeen said: “A lot of the time, when we lose, I feel like I’m always one of the first guys to get the blame for it. There have been days I’ve had not so good games but I feel like sometimes it’s easy to point the finger at me.
“It did get to me and that was probably one of the reasons why I felt like I needed to step back from Test cricket in particular.
In December, England’s chief selector Ed Smith revealed he didn’t know if Moeen would return to Test cricket. A few days later, in a column for the Guardian, the all-rounder wrote that his decision take a break from the format was to prolong his career.
“It was tough but I knew it was the right thing to do. I felt burnt out,” Moeen told the BBC, with the break needed “to recharge his batteries”.
“Obviously I had a very bad game against Australia in the Ashes and then rightfully I got dropped,” he added. “But it was almost like it was all my fault and like I’ve not been good enough for a while and not done anything for two years – but I have. I bat number eight and if I don’t score runs it’s all my fault? It’s difficult sometimes.”
Moeen remains available for England in one-day cricket and is in the limited-overs squads for the upcoming series against South Africa.
“I’m going to go to South Africa for the one-day stuff and decide probably there [on when to return to Tests] and speak to a few people.
“I’ll definitely come back when I feel ready. England have been amazing, the ECB have been amazing in terms of support. They fully understand where I’m coming from.”