Silverwood apologises for confusion over Moeen’s exit

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AHMEDABAD: England head coach Chris Silverwood has apologised for the confusion surrounding Moeen Ali’s departure from the India tour midway through the Test series after skipper Joe Root said the spinner had ‘chosen to go home’.

Moeen played in the second Test against India in Chennai where he picked up eight wickets while he was also England’s top scorer in the second innings with 43 runs as the tourists collapsed and lost by 317 runs for India to level the series at 1-1.

Silverwood confirmed selectors had decided beforehand that Moeen, 33, would be granted leave to escape life in the bubble as part of England’s rotation policy.

“First of all, we’re sorry. The impression we gave yesterday was Moeen’s been treated different to other people. He isn’t, I can guarantee you that,” Silverwood told reporters. “The decision for him to go home was ours as it was with [Jos] Buttler, Sam [Curran], [Jonny] Bairstow and [Mark] Wood. So we’re happy to own that decision.

“It was a unique situation with Moeen, he’d spent so long in isolation getting Covid out in Sri Lanka and he had just broken back into the team. The question was posed to him [on staying] but we thought it was the right decision for him to go.”

Silverwood said he and Root had discussed the matter with Moeen on Tuesday and there were no hard feelings.

Moeen is set to rejoin the team in India ahead of the five-match Twenty20 International series next month and though there were suggestions his Test career is over, Silverwood said he was part of their plans for the Ashes later this year.

“The planning and building for the Ashes started a long time ago and we’re continuing to build that group of players,” Silverwood added. “At any given point, anybody can play. Moeen is a very big part of that.”

While Test skipper Root is having to cope with rotation-enforced changes, limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan is set to lead a full-strength squad for the subsequent Twenty20 series.

Those matches should prove useful to reigning 50-over world champions England ahead of the T20 World Cup in India later this year.

England could also be missing first-choice players for their home two-Test series against New Zealand in June because of their Indian Premier League commitments.

But Silverwood said equal weight was given to Tests and T20 cricket as England tried to juggle a heavy schedule.

After the T20 World Cup, Root’s team head to Australia, seeking to regain the Ashes.

“We know we have a great opportunity to have a bit of a dry run with the T20 World Cup being in India but equally we have to respect that to get people to the T20 World Cup and the Ashes fresh and on top form, we have to look after them,” said Silverwood. “It is the world we are living in.

“We want to be the number one Test nation and have success in white-ball cricket. We’re determined to make it happen.”