Moeen Ali rules out England Test return for Pakistan tour after ‘honest’ Brendon McCullum chat

Door closed: Moeen Ali will not be returning to the England Test team  (AFP via Getty Images)
Door closed: Moeen Ali will not be returning to the England Test team (AFP via Getty Images)

Moeen Ali has ruled out the possibility of an England Test return after holding an “honest” conversation with Brendon McCullum.

Moeen, who has 195 wickets in 64 Tests, retired from the format last September but then announced he was reversing that decision earlier this summer, following the arrival of McCullum as head coach and appointment of Ben Stokes as captain.

In doing so, Moeen was making himself available for a recall for December’s three-Test tour of Pakistan, where England will need to bolster their spin options, but the all-rounder has now pulled the plug on the idea.

“That’s a trip I won’t be making sadly,” Moeen wrote in his Daily Mail column. “It’s not something I’m keen on doing any more.

“I’ve had an honest chat with Baz and I can’t see myself being stuck in hotels for another month and playing to the best of my ability. Baz phoned me, we spoke at length and I said, ‘Sorry, I’m done’. He understands, he knows the feeling.

“Watching the boys, I got the feeling this is how I’ve always wanted to play the game but the more I thought about it and discussed it with those close to me, I knew deep down why I was done.

“Test cricket is hard work. I’m 35 and something’s got to give. I want to enjoy my cricket and it wouldn’t be fair to reverse my decision and then struggle to give it my all.

“It’s time to close the door on that side of my career. To play 64 Tests for England has been a privilege and a dream fulfilled.”

Moeen’s decision means England will have to look elsewhere for spinners this winter. Jack Leach remains the frontline option and will lead the attack, while Matt Parkinson will be in contention, having made his Test debut as a concussion substitute for Leach against New Zealand at Lord’s.

Nottinghamshire’s Liam Patterson-White played in the England Lions’ victory over South Africa at Canterbury in August, while Dom Bess will hope for a recall, having not played international cricket since the summer of 2021.