England all-rounder Moeen Ali has opted to be unavailable for the third and the fourth Test of their four-match Test series against India. Ali will be travelling back home and stay with his family during that period. England team skipper Joe Root confirmed the news after the second Test match on Tuesday.
“Moeen’s chosen to go home. Obviously, it’s been a very tricky tour for him, and as mentioned at the start [of the tour], if players feel they need to get out of the bubble, then that’s been an option and it’s important that we stand by that,” Joe Root confirmed post the completion of the second match.
“From the squad, Moeen is the only one going home. With Moeen, it wasn’t more asking if he wanted to stay, it was a decision he had chosen.“
The times have been really tough for Ali as he had tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the England and Sri Lanka series. Following his reports, Ali had to undergo isolation period and had to stay without action for a long time. He also couldn’t get a chance in the first Test of the England’s India tour.
The squad included him in the second Test during which he performed spectacularly, taking eight wickets in the match. The all-rounder is expected to return to the squad for the white-ball series following the completion of the fourth Test.
“Of course we wanted as many players available for as long as possible, but you also want them to be very comfortable here and for Mo, he obviously wants to be at home with his family and we completely understand that.
“It’s been a very difficult tour for him, having to deal with Covid and being in his room for such long periods of time. You come to a point where you want to get out of the bubble and that’s absolutely fair. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision for him, but it’s one that we respect,” Root added.
The England team suffered a crashing defeat by an wide margin of 317 runs at the hands of the hosts here at the MA Chidamabaram Stadium in Chennai.
For the third Test at the Motera Stadium, which would be a day-night match, commencing February 24, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has named a 17-player squad. Wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow and pacer Mark Wood have returned to the squad. Both the players were rested for the first two Tests following their two-match Test series against Sri Lanka.
England squad for Third Test: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.