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Don’t Know If or When Moeen Ali Will Make England Comeback: Chief Selector Ed Smith

England all-rounder Moeen Ali, who was omitted from the country’s squad for the upcoming Test series in South Africa beginning on Boxing Day faces an uncertain national team future.

Cricketnext Staff |December 9, 2019, 3:54 PM IST
England's Moeen Ali. (Pic: AFP)

England all-rounder Moeen Ali, who was omitted from the country’s squad for the upcoming Test series in South Africa beginning on Boxing Day faces an uncertain national team future.

Back in August, Ali had requested some time off from Test cricket following a string of poor performances which was granted at the time, and England chief selector Ed Smith has now said that he “doesn’t know” if or when Ali will come back into the team.

"In an ideal world we would like Mo to be available but we have to deal with the situation as it is," Smith told reporters ahead of England’s tour.

"We all know Mo is a talented and valued cricketer for England. At the moment we just don't know if and when that might happen. We respect that and we hope he will return to be available sooner rather than later."

Smith also added that Ali had told him that he has ‘more Test runs and more Test wickets’ in him. "That was encouraging and that's what we believe," Smith added.

Leading up to the first Ashes Test earlier this year, Ali was going through a bad run of form in which he didn’t take too many wickets. Not too long before that, he had an excellent year which culminated in him ending as the leading Test wicket taker in the world, but England’s spin bowling responsibilities are now shouldered by Jack Leach.

In November, Test captain Joe Root had said that Ali "adds a different dimension," to the side but that he has to feel ‘comfortable and ready’ to return to the side.

Meanwhile, the series against South Africa will see the return of James Anderson to the side, who would have recovered from a recurrence of a calf injury during the Ashes. Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood will make a return as well.​

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