Glad I came back to play Ashes 2023: Moeen Ali announces retirement from Test cricket

By India Today Sports Desk: England all-rounder Moeen Ali has called time on his Test career. Speaking after the Oval Test match, where he picked 3 crucial wickets in the final innings against Australia, Moeen said that it would be his last match in the longest format of cricket. The all-rounder joked that if he gets another message from Stokes to return to the England side, he is going to delete it.

“If I get a message from Stokesy again, I’m going to delete it,” Moeen told the BBC after the Oval Test match.

“It feels amazing. To come back was obviously a little bit daunting because I’ve never played that well against Australia and it was one of those things when Stokesy asked me I thought: “Why not, I’m going to go into a brillant side and I still believe I can do alright,” and it’s just great to be back part of this amazing team,” Moeen told BBC after the game.

Ashes 2023, Final Test: Day 5 Highlights

The seasoned all-rounder had initially retired from Test cricket in 2021, but the unfortunate injury to left-arm spinner Jack Leach led to an unexpected turn of events. His return was facilitated by discussions with England captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, who were instrumental in persuading him to reconsider his decision.

“I’m so glad I came back and said yes. Just from the first day I came back into the changing room with Baz and Stokesy and to play again with Broad and Jimmy and Woody, it’s been amazing and I’m chuffed that I can finish with a win against Australia with a bit of a helping hand,” Moeen told the BBC about his experience.

Ali’s decision to reverse his retirement and rejoin the England squad was not taken lightly. The Ashes 2023 series saw Ali not only as England’s lead spinner but also their No. 3 batter, a unique all-round role that showcased his versatility and skill. Despite his initial reluctance, Ali thrived in this position, demonstrating his prowess both as a batsman and a bowler. He was instrumental in several key moments throughout the series, including a memorable performance where he picked up his 200th red-ball wicket for the team.

“They brought the best out of me but I am not complaining. I’ve had a good run and I have really enjoyed playing Test cricket with England and representing everyone in this country. It’s been amazing,” Moeen said.

Ali’s participation in the Ashes 2023 series was not without its difficulties. A finger injury in the first Test match and then a groin strain almost saw him getting sent to the sidelines once again. Yet, he persevered, demonstrating the same resilience and determination that have characterized his career.

“Amazing finish and to finish with Broady taking the last wicket, probably the only player to take a six on his last ball and take a wicket on his last ball, amazing and it’s a great win,” Ali concluded.

England levelled the Ashes 2023 with a 49-run win at the Oval. Moeen finishes his Test career with 3094 runs and 204 wickets to his name, after playing a crucial part in England’s 2-2 result in Ashes 2023.

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