PUNE, India (Reuters) - Moeen Ali warming the bench during the Twenty20 series against India was "circumstantial" and the all-rounder remains a vital white-ball player for the team, captain Eoin Morgan said on Monday.
Moeen tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival in Sri Lanka in January. The 33-year-old played one test in India, before flying home for a pre-arranged rest.
On his return, Moeen watched from the sidelines as India beat England 3-2 in the five-match Twenty20 series.
Morgan hinted Moeen would get his chance in the three-match ODI series beginning on Tuesday when asked if he still regarded him as a vital member of the side.
"Yes, I do," Morgan told a video conference.
"Anybody who's an all-rounder within the side and makes our squad is extremely valuable to our side.
"I know he's not played but that's been circumstantial. The pitches that we've played on just have not turned, and that obviously limits the amount of a finger-spinner's contribution."
Morgan said Moeen, known for his nagging off-spin and fluent batting, was considered for each of the five games though Adil Rashid played as the lone spinner.
The England captain said Moeen had returned rejuvenated and coped well with his T20 exclusion.
"He certainly takes them all in his stride. And I think the little period that Mo spent at home before this series has done a world of good."
England have rested test captain Joe Root from the ODI series after their 3-1 series defeat this month.
Morgan said the team would miss Root but stressed they were "spoilt for choice" with batsmen who could fill the void at number three.
"Obviously, losing Joe Root is a massive hole, for a guy who scores at a run-a-ball and averages fifty.
"He's an exceptional player and has been for a long time. So we'll miss him. But it's just going to be a matter of somebody slotting in at three and going about their own business."
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Siliguri, India; editing by Ed Osmond)