'I'd love to play under McCullum and Stokesy' – Moeen Ali hints at Test return for England

By Sports Desk June 11, 2022

Moeen Ali has left the door open for a return to Test cricket for England after admitting he would "love" to play under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes.

Moeen announced his retirement from red-ball internationals last September after struggling to maintain focus in the five-day game and enjoying shorter-format cricket.

The 34-year-old scored 2,914 Test runs at an average of 28.3 and picked up 195 wickets at 36.7, including a hat-trick against South Africa at The Oval in 2017.

Only James Anderson and Stuart Broad took more Test wickets for England during Moeen's time in the side, while the off-spinner ranked 12th for dismissals in the world in that same period.

Stokes has since been appointed captain as the successor to Joe Root, partnering with coach McCullum, who replaced Chris Silverwood after his dismissal.

That has led to suggestions for a potential Test return for white-ball star Jos Buttler and also Moeen, who acknowledged it would be hard to refuse the new leadership pair.

"There's a possibility. I'm a big one for never say never. We'll see what happens," Moeen told BBC's Test Match Special on Saturday.

"Brendon got the job and he messaged me the day after, during the IPL, and said 'are you in?'

"He said he would call me at the weekend. So, we spoke and he said 'in the future if we need you, if there are injuries or a tour in the subcontinent etc, are you keen to play?'

"He's a very difficult person to say no to and I found that very, very hard. He's very convincing.

"To be honest, I'd love to play under him and Stokesy. Both of them have that character about them. They're very aggressive. I think I would suit their cricket a bit more and I think they feel I would suit them as well.

"I said to Brendon the door is never always closed if your country needs you, or guys are injured or your team needs you for balance. So, yeah, I'm keen."

Moeen may target a return to the Test setup when England tour Pakistan for a three-match series next September, with the tourists requiring spinning options on turning pitches in the subcontinent.

"We've not been there for many, many years. It would be a great tour to be part of, for sure," Moeen added.

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