Moeen Ali says he plans to return to Test cricket after a tough end to 2019 which saw him hope to be dropped during The Ashes, lose his red-ball contract and consider quitting the longest form for good.
Ali is currently on a break from Tests – telling Sky Sports that is due to feeling “burnt out” and wanting time away from the “intensity” – and missed England’s series defeat in New Zealand and 3-1 win in South Africa.
However, the all-rounder – part of England’s squad for the ODIs and T20Is against the Proteas – will chat with head coach Chris Silverwood and Test captain Joe Root over the next few weeks about whether he makes his red-ball return on the two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in March.
“I don’t want anyone to think I don’t love playing for England because playing for your country is the greatest thing a cricketer can do,” Ali told Sky Sports‘ Ian Ward ahead of Tuesday’s first ODI in Cape Town.
“Even in the [one-day] warm-up games here, I was thinking ‘I have missed this’, which is exactly the feeling I want.
“I didn’t feel as valued as much as I felt I should have been, and there were times when I thought I was going to quit playing Test matches, but I spoke to Rooty and he felt I was still a big part of this team.
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“I am going to speak to Spoons [Silverwood] and Rooty [about Sri Lanka] but ultimately it is about if I feel I am ready to play again. I don’t want people to feel I am picking and choosing. I know I have to make sure I am fresh and mentally ready to go out and perform.
“I know even if I decide to go to Sri Lanka I might not get in straight away but I am going to fight for my place. I thought [off-spinner Dom] Bess bowled really well in South Africa but it was almost like, ‘yeah, I could to that, I can still do that’.
“The ECB has been really supportive of me. I want to come back a better player and be a part of the whole journey. I don’t want to ever go through [how I was feeling] again.”