England all-rounder Moeen Ali on September 27 announced his retirement from Test cricket, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a release.
The 34-year-old played 64 Tests and bagged 195 wickets and scored five centuries during his career.
Earlier there were reports that he had already informed captain Joe Root and head coach Chris Silverwood of his decision to call time on his Test career.
“I’ll miss walking out there with the lads, playing against best in the world with that feeling of nerves but also from a bowling point of view, knowing with my best ball I could get anyone out,” Moeen said in a statement.
After a couple of years playing short-format cricket, he found he no longer had what it took to flourish in Test cricket. He just couldn’t, as he puts it, “get in the zone” anymore.
“I felt like I was done, to be honest,” Moeen said on the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) website.
“I was hoping to play the last Test – there were a couple of milestones I wanted to pass – but once that game got called off, I realised that was it.
“Headingley was a great win but I just found I couldn’t concentrate. I’ve played rash shots before and had poor games before. But I just felt like I wasn’t in it. I’ve never felt that before. It’s not that I didn’t want to perform, I just didn’t feel like I was fully wholeheartedly into it.”
“You try your best. I just found it really hard to get in the zone bowling, batting, and in the field. And the more I tried, I just couldn’t do it. In the past when I came back into the team, it might take a bit of time but then I’m all in. But that series, I just couldn’t do it.”
“The atmosphere felt really good. It was really nice to be back in the dressing room. But I just found cricketing-wise it was a bit of a struggle.”
I didn’t play enough first-class cricket and by the time I did get back into the team for that one Test in Chennai, I was on a different path.
“I don’t think I lost interest in Test cricket but I think I lost the ability to do it as best as you can,” he said.
“There was part of me thinking about the Ashes this winter. I would have loved to go back and do well because last time I didn’t do so well. But I just felt like I couldn’t do it for that long. It’s such a long trip if I’m not ‘in it’. If I felt like I did in India when I was out there, then I would probably retire after one match. So it’s done.”
He admits he will miss it. In particular, he knows he will miss that sense of delighting a full-house crowd.
He also said that test cricket is amazing.
“When you’re doing well, or when you have a good day, it is a better feeling than any other format of the game by far. It is more rewarding and you feel like you’ve earned it. Very rarely do you bowl poorly and get five wickets or play poorly and get a hundred. You’ve done something really well.”
“The hat-trick at the Oval and the 2015 Ashes are probably the highlights for me. There have been some really good moments but I think they’re the two that really stand out.
Speaking about his bowling, Moeen said he is fulfilled.
He accepts he has probably over-achieved for a player who grew up identifying as a batter who bowled a little.
He, however, admits that there is a sense of “wasted” potential over his batting.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would get so many,” Moeen says of his 195 Test wickets.
“I remember hitting 50 Test wickets; it seemed amazing. But, from a bowling point of view, I felt like I could, with my best ball, get anybody out. That was a really good feeling. And it’s always nice when you get the top players out. I’m really proud of that.
“And with the bat… well, initially, at least I always had that feeling that I was trying to score a hundred. And I used to love that feeling, because that really made me feel like a batsman.
“But then I was in a team as a bowler and I concentrated on my bowling more in practice. I didn’t practice my batting as much. I look back and think I could have done better.
“I do feel like my batting was a little bit wasted. I could have done better than I’ve done. I feel like I could have scored more Test hundreds, for sure.”
Meanwhile, Moeen is currently in the UAE, playing for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2021.
He will continue playing white-ball cricket for England, county cricket for Worcestershire and domestic Twenty20 tournaments.
He remains a part of England’s plans for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman.
Moeen was on the verge of becoming only the 15th player in Test history to score 3,000 runs and claim 200 wickets when the fifth Test against India was canceled owing to the COVID-19 threat.