India v England: Joe Root reassures Moeen Ali over planned departure


England captain Joe Root has spoken to Moeen Ali to reassure the all-rounder there are no issues with him missing the final two Tests in India.

Root said on Tuesday that Moeen had “chosen” to leave the tour.

However, England had always planned for Moeen to be rested for the final two Tests and he was only approached about staying on day four of the second Test.

Root spoke with Moeen at the team hotel and the 33-year-old is understood to be comfortable with the situation.

Root explained he had not expressed himself clearly when speaking to the media about Moeen being rested and that he fully supports the move for him to spend time with his family, as previously agreed.

Moeen has endured a difficult tour, spending 14 days in isolation in Sri Lanka in January after testing positive for coronavirus.

When he recovered and was declared available for the series in India, he said he was set to be rested for the final two Tests as part of England’s policy of rotating their multi-format players.

Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran and Mark Wood have been rested from some Tests this winter.

England’s 317-defeat in Chennai was Moeen’s first Test in 18 months, with his match totals of eight wickets and 49 runs more than any of his team-mates.

England asked Moeen to consider staying in India on what turned out to be the final day of the match, under the proviso he would be rested later in the tour, given he is part of the squad for five Twenty20 internationals in March. However, the decision was taken for the Worcestershire player to rest now, as originally planned.

The situation is complicated by Moeen’s presence in the Indian Premier League auction this week.

If he is chosen by one of the teams and had not taken any period of rest, he would have been away from home for about five months.

Logistically, it was not possible for Moeen to remain in India to learn the outcome of the IPL auction, because if he was then rested for the final two Tests, he would have had less than a week at home before returning for the T20 series.

The third Test of England’s four-match series – which is level at 1-1 – starts on 24 February in Ahmedabad.


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