The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Wednesday that former Test cricketer Moeen Ali has been included in the Ashes squad for the first two Tests.
Moeen, who retired from Test cricket in September 2021 to focus on limited-overs formats, reversed his decision after discussions with Test captain Ben Stokes, coach Brendon McCullum, and ECB’s managing director Rob Key. This move comes after spinner Jack Leach was ruled out of the series.
Having made his Test debut in 2014, Moeen played his last Test against India at the Oval in September 2021. During his Test career, he scored 2,914 runs in 64 matches at an average of 28.29 and took 195 wickets with his off-spin. The decision to bring Moeen back into the Test fold was made after reaching out to him earlier in the week.
ECB men’s managing director Rob Key expressed excitement about Moeen’s return, citing his vast experience and all-round ability as valuable assets for the Ashes campaign. Moeen’s addition to the squad is expected to strengthen England’s chances against Australia in the upcoming series.
Meanwhile, Jack Leach’s unfortunate injury, a stress fracture in his back, has ruled him out of the highly anticipated five-Test series. Leach had performed well in England’s warm-up Test against Ireland, taking four wickets. His absence adds to England’s bowling woes as fast bowler Jofra Archer is also unavailable due to injury.
The Ashes is set to commence on June 16 at Edgbaston, marking the beginning of a fiercely contested battle between England and Australia for cricketing supremacy.