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Moeen comes out of retirement to join England’s Ashes squad

Moeen Ali has come out of Test retirement to take his place in England’s Ashes squad as a replacement for the injured Jack Leach.

Moeen quit the international red-ball game almost two years ago but has agreed to return for the Australia series after fellow spin bowler Leach was ruled out with a stress fracture of the lower back.

The 35-year-old has been added to England’s squad for the first two Tests and now looks likely to play in the opening game at Edgbaston from Friday June 16 in what would be his first red-ball appearance since September 2021.

“We reached out to Mo (Moeen Ali) early this week about returning to Test cricket,” said Rob Key, managing director of England men’s cricket.

“Having had a couple of days to reflect, Mo is excited to join the squad and play Test cricket again. His vast experience, along with his all-round ability, will benefit our Ashes campaign.

“We wish Mo and the rest of the squad well.”

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Moeen Ali sealed an emphatic 239-run victory for England in the third Test against South Africa in 2017 with a dramatic hat-trick, the first by a England spinner since 1938-39 and the first one ever at The Oval

Off-spinner Moeen has a poor Test record against Australia with the ball – his average of 64.65 in 11 matches versus the Baggy Greens is significantly higher than his career Test bowling average of 36.66.

However, he brings a total of 195 wickets and over 2,900 runs from 64 Tests to an England side aiming to win The Ashes for the first time since 2015.

Other options for England included 18-year-old leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed and off-spinning all-rounder Will Jacks, both of whom played in Pakistan over the winter, as well as left-arm spinner Liam Dawson, who last featured in Test cricket in 2017.

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‘Moeen fits into Stokes and McCullum philosophy’

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A look at Moeen Ali’s best wickets in home Ashes series ahead of his return to the England squad

Speaking on Monday, after Leach was injured but before Moeen was called up, England seam bowler Stuart Broad said: “We know Mo is a phenomenal cricketer.

“He is someone who would fit into [captain Ben] Stokes and Baz’s [head coach Brendon McCullum’s] philosophy beautifully. He’s a mighty fine cricketer.”

Moeen was sounded out for a comeback by McCullum ahead of the 3-0 series sweep in Pakistan but opted to stay in retirement at that stage.

This time, though, an Ashes series has proved too enticing to turn down.

After the Edgbaston Test, England will face Australia at Lord’s (June 28-July 2), Headingley (July 6-10), Emirates Old Trafford (July 19-23) and The Kia Oval (July 27-31).

England have won 11 of 13 Tests under Stokes and McCullum after managing a solitary victory in 17 games prior to their appointments as captain and coach respectively.

England squad for first two Ashes Tests: Ben Stokes (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Ollie Pope, Matthew Potts, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Josh Tongue, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Watch The Ashes live on Sky Sports Cricket from Friday June 16 or follow the series across Sky Sports’ digital platforms.


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