England coach Chris Silverwood has given a vote of confidence in allrounder Moeen Ali, saying he’s still a “very big part” of England’s plans leading up to the Ashes series in Australia.
Silverwood apologised for the confusion surrounding Moeen’s departure from the India tour midway through the Test series after captain Joe Root said the spinner had “chosen to go home”.
Moeen played in the second Test against India in Chennai where he picked up eight wickets while he was also England’s top scorer in the second innings with 43 as the tourists collapsed and lost by 317 runs for India to level the series at 1-1.
Silverwood confirmed that selectors had actually decided beforehand that Moeen, 33, would be granted leave to escape life in the bubble as part of England’s rotation policy.
“First of all, we’re sorry. The impression we gave yesterday was Moeen’s been treated different to other people. He isn’t, I can guarantee you that,” Silverwood told reporters on Wednesday.
“The decision for him to go home was ours as it was with (Jos) Buttler, Sam (Curran), (Jonny) Bairstow and (Mark) Wood. So we’re happy to own that decision.
“It was a unique situation with Moeen. He’d spent so long in isolation, getting COVID out in Sri Lanka, and he had just broken back into the team.
“The question was posed to him (on staying) but we thought it was the right decision for him to go.”
Silverwood said he and Root had discussed the matter with Moeen on Tuesday and there were no hard feelings.
Moeen is set to rejoin the team in India ahead of the five-match Twenty20 series next month and though there were suggestions his Test career is over, Silverwood said he was part of their plans for the Ashes later this year.
“The planning and building for the Ashes started a long time ago and we’re continuing to build that group of players,” Silverwood added.
“At any given point, anybody can play. Moeen is a very big part of that.”