Moeen Ali reverses decision on Test comeback

Moeen Ali got his chance at Lord's AFP/Getty Images

Moeen Ali has ruled out the possibility of making a Test comeback on England's tour of Pakistan later this year. Writing in the Daily Mail, he said it was "time to close the door on that side of my career".

Moeen revealed in June that he had "unretired" from Test cricket after a conversation with the new head coach, Brendon McCullum. He previously called time on the format in 2021, telling ESPNcricinfo that he didn't feel "fully wholeheartedly into it".

However, after leading England to a 4-3 T20I series win in Pakistan a few days ago, standing in as captain for the injured Jos Buttler, Moeen used his newspaper column to confirm he would not be returning for December's Tests.

"That's a trip I won't be making sadly," he wrote. "It's not something I'm keen on doing any more.

"I've had an honest chat with Baz [McCullum] about the tour and I really can't see myself being stuck in hotels for another month and playing Test cricket to the best of my ability.

"Baz phoned me and we spoke at length and I just said, 'Nah, sorry, I'm done' and he understands. He knows the feeling. Yes, I said I was 'unretired' in the summer and watching the boys, I got the feeling I properly miss this and that this is how I've always wanted to play the game.

"But the more I thought about it and discussed with those close to me, I knew deep down why I was done. Test cricket is hard work. I don't think my mindset would be any different even if the restrictions were lifted in Pakistan. I'm 35 now and something's got to give."

England's players were given presidential levels of security on tour, their first to Pakistan since 2005-06, and rarely left their hotel complexes in Karachi and Lahore.

Moeen had admitted the attraction of playing under McCullum, who has helped bring a new ethos to the Test team during a summer in which they won six games out of seven. However, his involvement in the upcoming T20 World Cup, as well as commitments to various T20 leagues around the world - including the new ILT20 in the UAE, for which he is a marquee player - also impacted on his desire to make a return in the longest format.

"I want to enjoy my cricket and it wouldn't be fair to reverse my decision and then struggle to give it my all," Moeen said. "With the hectic limited-overs schedule and the franchise leagues I've committed to, any opportunity to spend time with my family is precious.

"Anyways, it's good to see the boys doing so well and I'm sure it will be a great spectacle, just like this series, and a really exciting challenge for the lads when they come for the Tests.

"But for me, it's time to close the door on that side of my career. To play 64 Test matches for England has been a privilege and a dream fulfilled."