India v England: Moeen Ali ‘wouldn’t wish Covid-19 on anyone’


England all-rounder Moeen Ali says he “wouldn’t wish on anyone” his positive coronavirus diagnosis and two weeks of isolation.

Moeen was confined to his hotel room for much of England’s recent tour of Sri Lanka, missing both Tests.

The 33-year-old is back in contention to play in the first Test against India in Chennai starting on Friday.

“I actually don’t know how I got through those 14 days. It was tough,” said Moeen.

The off-spinner is the only England player to have returned a confirmed positive test for coronavirus while on international duty.

“I had loss of taste for a day or so and splitting headaches for three days,” he said. “My body was very sore and I’ve never experienced that sort of tiredness before in my life.

“It was three days feeling pretty rough and the rest was fine.

“The 14 days felt like they were dragging. The last four days in particular were very tough because I felt fine but I was just stuck in a room.”

Moeen, a devout Muslim, says he will have the coronavirus vaccine when it is available to him.

There have been concerns that a spread of disinformation might discourage some members of the UK’s south Asian community from being vaccinated.

“I’d take it and urge others to do it,” Moeen said. “Having spoken to people who know quite a bit about it, I’d take it and get my family and others to take it.

“It’s like any vaccine – there’s a lot of conspiracy theories out there but it’s just medicine evolving.

“In our community, people are sometimes not sure whether to take something – a bit cautious. But for things to get back to normal it’s important that we do it.”

Moeen has not played a Test since being dropped after the Ashes series opener against Australia in August 2019. He initially took a break from the longest form of the game, then struggled to regain his place before being recalled for the 2-0 series win in Sri Lanka.

“I still feel I’ve got wickets, runs and match-winning performances within me,” said Moeen, who has scored 2,782 Test runs at an average of 28.97 and taken 181 wickets at 36.59.

In a bid to manage player workload and look after their wellbeing with so much time spent in bio-secure ‘bubbles’, England are employing a rotation policy across their winter tours.

Players who feature in all three formats are due to be rested at some point. Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes missed the Tests in Sri Lanka, Mark Wood, Sam Curran and Jonny Bairstow are sitting out the first two in India and Jos Buttler will return home after the series opener.

Moeen confirmed that he is due to be rested after the first two India Tests.

“It has felt like a long tour already so far,” he said. “Once you start playing and things gets better, you’re in a better frame of mind, so we’ll see.

“At the moment I’m here for the first two games and depending on how things go, there’s a chance I’ll be going home after that.”

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