Moeen Ali, the England allrounder, has indicated that he is ready to return from his self-imposed Test exile as soon as the coronavirus outbreak allows.
Ali has not played a Test since being dropped during last summer’s Ashes. He subsequently lost his Test central contract – receiving a white-ball only deal – and opted out of the tours to New Zealand and South Africa, saying he needed a break from the longest format.
Instead, Ali spent his winter taking part in T20 leagues such as the PSL, and was set to return to the IPL before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. With the English season currently on hold, Ali said that he had taken time to reevaluate things and would be open to playing “a Test match tomorrow” if the situation allowed.
“I think I’d probably be ready now, to be honest,” he told the Guardian. “Clearly I would have to be playing well and win a spot back on merit but in terms of being available – and obviously I’m speaking hypothetically – if there was a Test match tomorrow and I got the call, I’d say ‘yes’. We’re all missing cricket right now and the coronavirus makes you realise what you love. It could take out the whole summer and that would be a big thing.”
England had been due to play West Indies and Pakistan in Test series this summer, but there is no certainty about how much cricket may be possible once government rules on social distancing are relaxed. The start of the season has been postponed until May 28, with an expectation that could slip further.
Having written previously in his newspaper column that he felt his “bad days in Test cricket get amplified or singled out more than other players”, Ali said that he would be looking to start afresh when the game does resume.
“This current break has made me realise that when you find yourself surrounded by a few negative comments, somehow it’s all you can focus on,” he said. “You have to be mentally stronger and filter more of it out.
“With so much happening in the world right now, this has been time to reflect. You realise you don’t know how long you are on earth and so what people might say about you really doesn’t matter. If that’s someone in the media talking about your cricket, they’re just doing their job and there is no point getting affected.
“It’s almost been a case of forgiving anyone who has ever said anything I didn’t like and now looking to start afresh when we get back playing. I may have felt like a scapegoat at times in the past but I’m over it now. It’s time to move on.”