Moeen says England Test critics found it 'easy to point the finger at me'

By Sports Desk January 16, 2020

Moeen Ali believes he had cruelly become a scapegoat for England's shortcomings before he stepped away from Test cricket last summer.

The 60-Test veteran is looking for a return to the five-day game in the near future, saying he hoped it would come "very soon".

Yet Moeen has revealed his frustration at being singled out for criticism at times when his overall contribution has not justified the scrutiny.

His most recent Test was the Ashes opener against Australia at Edgbaston in August, when the tourists scored a 251-run victory.

Spinning all-rounder Moeen took three wickets in the match but scored just a duck and four with the bat.

He asked for a hiatus from Tests later in the English summer, which meant he missed the tour of New Zealand and the current trip to South Africa.

Describing himself as feeling "burnt out" at the time, Moeen said: "There have been days I've had not so good games but I feel like sometimes it's easy to point the finger at me.

"It did get to me and that was probably one of the reasons why I felt like I needed to step back from Test cricket in particular."

Speaking to the BBC Asian Network, Moeen said: "It's not something people would normally do, especially when you've just won the World Cup, you're playing in the Ashes - I was doing quite well before that.

"Obviously I had a very bad game against Australia in the Ashes and then rightfully I got dropped, but it was almost like it was all my fault and like I've not been good enough for a while and not done anything for two years - but I have.

"I bat number eight and if I don't score runs it's all my fault? It's difficult sometimes."

Moeen, who has made five Test hundreds and boasts 181 five-day wickets, may come back into contention for England's home series against West Indies and Pakistan, describing the England and Wales Cricket board as "amazing in terms of support".

"They've just said, 'Whenever you're ready, mate. We'll be here for you'," Moeen said. "Hopefully very soon I'll be back."

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