Moeen Ali considering return to Test cricket after approach to replace injured Jack Leach for Ashes series

Moeen Ali is considering a return to Test cricket after Jack Leach was ruled out of the Ashes with a lower back stress fracture.

Sky Sports News has been told off-spinner Moeen is contemplating a return to the five-day game after being sounded out by England head coach Brendon McCullum.

Other options are also being considered by England’s selection panel and no decision has yet been made on who will replace Leach for the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston which gets under way on Friday June 16.

Liam Dawson, Rehan Ahmed and Will Jacks are among the leading contenders to replace Leach, who has established himself as England’s premier spinner under Ben Stokes’ captaincy.

Moeen retired from Test cricket in September 2021 after England’s Test series against India and that September Test was also his last first-class match.

Moeen made his Test debut in 2014 and went on to score 2,914 runs in 64 Tests at an average of 28.29, picking up 195 wickets.

Last October, Moeen said McCullum had talked to him about a potential red-ball return but that he had “closed the door” on that part of his career.

Broad: Moeen would fit beautifully into England’s new philosophy

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Stuart Broad says he is ‘gutted’ for Jack Leach after the spinner was ruled out of the Ashes, and considers whether Moeen Ali could take his place in the England squad.

Moeen has not been a part of Stokes and McCullum’s transformation of England’s Test side, but Stuart Broad believes the 35-year-old would fit straight into the attacking philosophy that now characterizes the squad.

Asked about the prospect of Moeen making a return, Broad had said earlier on Monday: “It’s hypothetical at the moment. I don’t know if that’s been a thing or a talking point in particular.

“We know Mo is a phenomenal cricketer and someone who would fit into Stokes and Baz’s philosophy beautifully. I don’t know if he’s being considered by the selectors or if he would consider red-ball cricket again. But he’s a mighty fine cricketer. “

Hussain: Would Moeen want to be there?

Sky Sports Cricket’s Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports News…

“Moeen is the third leading spin bowler in Test cricket for England. He has 195 test wickets, he knows that ground [Edgbaston] very well, he’s a fabulous cricketer.

“He’s very experienced, and obviously with all their [Australia] left-handers, Moeen Ali is a wonderful bowler to left-handers.

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Former England captain, Nasser Hussain looks through the spin options who could replace Jack Leach in the Ashes.

“But the only thing with Moeen is, in an Ashes series, you have to 100 percent want to be there. It is the biggest stage and you cannot have any thoughts of: ‘Do I really need this? I’d given up Test cricket.’

“Moeen has to ask himself, if they go back to him: ‘Do I want to get back on that test match stage?’ Because if you’re not 100 per cent switched on in the Ashes, Australia come at you hard, and it can be very, very demanding mentally.

“So if they don’t go with Moeen, you look at Rehan Ahmed, five-wicket haul on debut, he bowled brilliantly. He’s an attacking leg-spin option who can beat as well. That would be the attacking option.

“And then they have Liam Dawson. In England, you need a spinner to hold an end as well, and Dawson does that. And I know Rob Key is a big fan of Liam Dawson. He’s a bit more, if you like, of a defensive option in the first innings, like Jack Leach does, and attack in the second innings.

“He’s a very useful batter as well, and is a competitor. Liam Dawson is a tough nut. I like him. To bowl and bat in one-day cricket like he does, is mentally tough.

“There’s some difficult choices.

“Ahmed is a very confident young man, as we saw in Pakistan. I would personally go for him as he is the attacking option. Trust him and give him a go, he’s not let you down in the one test he’s played.

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Ian Ward and Michael Atherton share their thoughts on who they think is best suited to replace Jack Leach after he suffered a lower back stress fracture.

“The only thing is, in England, sometimes your spinner needs to sit in and bowl defensively, because if Australia are going for runs and England have to go back to Jimmy Anderson – 40 years of age, Stuart Broad – 36 years of age, Ben Stokes on one knee, if your spinner isn’t doing a holding role, those seamers in back-to-back test matches will get bowled into the ground.

“And that’s what brings Dawson into it a little bit more, doing a holding role, and allowing Stokes to rotate his seamers at the other end.

“Shane Warne always used to say with young leg-spinners and spin in general, captaincy of them is absolutely vital. The confidence you give them and the field you set them.”