Moeen Ali retires from Test cricket

LONDON (Cricinfo): Moeen Ali knew the exact moment he had to retire from Test cricket. He had won a long-awaited recall to the England side and he was involved in a thrilling match at Leeds. But in that Test and the following one at The Kia Oval, he found himself unable to fully concentrate.
It wasn’t that he didn’t care. Far from it. But, 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,” he says now. “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.”
The roots of the decision stretch back far further, though. Ever since Moeen lost his full central contract, at the end of the 2019 English summer, he started to feel disjointed from the Test squad. And without that contract to rely upon, he started to pursue franchise opportunities as more of a priority. He reflects now that it set him “on a different path” from the rest of the team. “That did break me a little bit,” he says of the decision not to give him a full central contract.
“I felt like I had a poor game [at Edgbaston in 2019] and rightly got dropped. But I felt I was at my peak in my bowling to that point.
“If you look back now, I didn’t play towards the back end of the World Cup. We then had a Test against Ireland in which I hardly bowled and then two days of training for the first Ashes Test. It rained on those days, so I bowled indoors.