Moeen Ali to take short break after Lord’s axing

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Despite being the highest Test wicket-taker in the last 12 months with 48 scalps in 10 matches at 25.27, Moeen has struggled in his recent outings. © Getty

Moeen Ali is to take a break from competitive cricket, his county Worcester have announced.

The off-spinner was dropped from the England squad for the second Ashes Test, which is due to start on Wednesday, amid a dip in form and confidence. His performance at Edgbaston, with match figures of 3/172 and scores of 0 and 4, capped off what has been a disappointing couple of months for Moeen after he was dropped during the group stages of the World Cup.

While the 251-run defeat which handed Australia a 1-0 lead was not put at the 32-year old’s door, underperforming on a turning track led to the selectors opting for Somerset’s left-arm spinner Jack Leach in a bid to give them more control on a Lord’s pitch that may also help the spinners on the fourth or fifth day.

Moeen’s form with the bat has been particularly dire, with four ducks in his last nine Test innings. Worcestershire First Team Coach Alex Gidman said: “Mo is spending a little time away from the middle recharging his batteries and putting in some quality practice time which he feels he needs, and we completely respect.

“He has had an intense schedule of international cricket involving the ICC World Cup and the start of the Ashes.

“Mo loves playing for Worcestershire and he gives a lift to everyone in the dressing room when he comes back and plays for us. We saw at Trent Bridge (in the Blast) what he gives to us and we look forward to when he returns soon.”

Moeen was going to be available immediately for Worcestershire’s T20 Blast campaign. And though that will now not be the case, there is a chance he could return to first-class action for the club against Northamptonshire (August 18) in a bid to regain his Test spot.

Even in this rough patch, he is still considered a key member of the international group. His 60 Tests, over the last five years have seen him take 181 wickets with five five-wicket hauls and 2,782 runs, including five centuries. However, the averages of both disciplines – 28.97 with bat, 36.59 with the ball – tells an accurate story of a spin-bowling allrounder who has struggled to find consistency.

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