Moeen Ali eyeing England return after international absence

Cricket World Cup winner Moeen Ali is hoping for a return to the England Test side against South Africa

Moeen Ali has his sights set on England’s tour of South Africa for his return to international cricket after a well-earned break.

The all-rounder was an integral member of the England team that won the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup this summer, but took time away from international cricket having missed out selection for the second Ashes Test.

A setback it may have been, but the rest offered Moeen – who features in all three formats at domestic and international level – the chance to be refreshed alongside his family.

He said: “I feel really good. I needed a break from Test cricket just to get away a little bit.

“I have been around for five years now and the time away from your family is quite hard.

“I still want to play red-ball cricket. I am not going to play in the New Zealand series but then hopefully I will be looking to play after that and be part of the test side again for the South Africa series.”

Moeen was replaced for the remaining Test matches of the summer by fellow spinner Jack Leach, who became something of a fan cult-hero after accurate bowling and remarkably resilient tail-end batting displays – particularly during Ben Stokes’ breath-taking innings at Headingley.

Despite Leach seemingly solidifying his place in an England side that likes to feature with one frontline spinner, Moeen believes that the two of them can play in the same team.

“I think we can complement each other,” added the 32-year-old, speaking on the latest leg of the ECB Winners’ Trophy Tour.

“We did it a little bit in Sri Lanka last winter but didn’t really have the chance to do it at home together.

“Obviously he is completely different as he bowls left-arm, so I think that him bowling the other way to me makes us a good combination.”

Moeen’s break from cricket seems to have done him all the right favours as his ambitions and enthusiasm for the new season did not stop at the winter tours of South Africa and Sri Lanka.

There are home series next summer against the West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Ireland, all of which he wants to play a part in, as well as The Hundred and the T20 World Cup in Australia.

He added: “I would love to be part of that World T20 squad.

“We just missed out on it last time when we were in the final and it would be great to win that as well.

“And then I think The Hundred will be amazing too. Obviously, it is different, but I think it is going to be the spark needed for people who don’t know about the game.

“The timing is amazing – we have recently won the World Cup and then we had the Ashes and now this is the next exciting thing to look forward to.

“It is also during the school holidays and it will be easier to explain to people who are coming to the game for the first time.

“Test cricket is complex and hard to explain, and we know that T20 has jumped massively in terms of bringing in fans and hopefully this can do even better than that.

“Personally, I think it is going to be amazing for the young players and kids and hopefully we are going to attract some more supporters.”

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