Moeen Ali on England Test return and breaking down barriers

Moeen Ali has taken 282 wickets for England across the three formats

Moeen Ali believes he has only “two or three more years” left of playing top-level cricket, and wants to resume his England Test career once the sport returns after the coronavirus pandemic.

Off-spinner Moeen has not played five-day cricket since he was dropped for the second Ashes Test in August 2019.

The 32-year-old returned to the international set-up for the white-ball tour of South Africa in February.

“Since the whole pandemic thing I want to play as much as I can,” Moeen said.

Moeen reacted to being dropped last summer by taking a break from all forms of international cricket.

However, he is now keen to return to the fold in all three formats.

“Cricket at the highest level will probably finish for me in two or three years,” said Moeen, who was speaking to the Doosra podcast.

“I want to make the most of it and play as much as I can. I only did it [stepped away from international cricket] for a bit of a break, and I’ve had that now.”

‘They don’t see me as Moeen the Asian background Muslim guy’

Moeen Ali hopes he is now a role model for future cricketers from different backgrounds

Moeen, who has played 60 Tests, 102 one-day internationals and 28 Twenty20s for England, discussed a range of topics on the podcast, including how he is keeping fit at home during lockdown, his experiences of playing in the Pakistan Super League and his disgust at the choice of music in the England dressing room.

As a practising Muslim, he is currently fasting for the Islamic month of Ramadan and he also talks about both the struggles and benefits of abstaining from food and water between dawn and sunset during lockdown.

“When you’re at home you can do a lot more spiritually and Islamically but time goes so slow and the days drag, so by the time you get to eat you’re absolutely starving,” Moeen said.

“When you’re out and about, time goes quickly. But I do prefer fasting in lockdown even though it is a little bit harder. But, physically when you’re playing and training, that also gets hard.”

Moeen also champions the diversity in the England set-up and says his team-mates respect his faith.

“Having spent so much time with the guys in the changing rooms now, them getting to know me and me getting to know them, they don’t see me as Moeen the Asian background Muslim guy with the beard,” he said.

“They see me as a normal person who they get on well with.

“They almost look through the initial sight, the beard, and they respect and value what I follow and do, and likewise I do to them.”

Speaking about being a role model for future BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) cricketers, World Cup winner Moeen added: “Hopefully I’ve inspired younger people from all faiths.

“No matter what colour they are or where they’re from, or what school they went to, hopefully we’ve broken those barriers and they can think they can play for cricket for England.”

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