English all-rounder Moeen Ali has announced his retirement from test cricket but will continue to play in international matches with limited overs.
Moeen, 34, scored 2,914 runs and took 195 wickets in 64 Tests after making his debut against Sri Lanka in 2014.
He won the 50-over World Cup in 2019 and is on England’s preliminary roster for this year’s T20 World Cup.
“I want to play as long as possible and just enjoy my cricket,” said Moeen.
“I’ve enjoyed test cricket but this intensity can be too much at times and I feel like I’ve done enough of it and I’m happy and satisfied with the way I did it.”
Moeen added that test cricket was “far better than any other format” and “more rewarding” when played well.
The left-handed batter and off-spinner hit five centuries, taking five five-wicket hauls in Tests, ending with a batting average of 28.29 and a bowling average of 36.66.
Only 15 bowlers took more test wickets for England and Moeen is third among the English spinners behind Derek Underwood (297) and Graeme Swann (255).
In 2017, Moeen became the fifth fastest player in terms of games played to get 2,000 runs and 100 wickets, and also scored a hat-trick against South Africa that year to seal a streak win at The Oval.
He was part of the 2015 Ashes winning team but struggled during the 2017-18 series in Australia and took a break from cricket after being dropped at home during Ashes 2019.
Moeen was only recalled to the testing team during the tour of Sri Lanka in January this year, but missed the two tests after contracting the coronavirus and spent 14 days in isolation.
He eventually returned on the second Test in India in February and took eight wickets before traveling home before the final two Tests as part of England’s rotation policy.
He played three of England’s four home Tests against India this summer before the fifth was canceled over Covid-19 concerns.
Had the fifth test been carried out, Moeen would only have become the 15th player in test history to have scored 3,000 runs and captured 200 wickets.
After the T20 World Cup in Oman and the United Arab Emirates in October and November, England will face Australia in the five-test ashes series from December 8th.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says there will be “no special offers” for families of English cricketers who are allowed to travel and some players are considering retiring due to strict Covid-19 protocols.
Moeen, who has also played 112 one-day internationals and 38 T20s, has two young children and thanked his family for their support.
“They were all great on my trip, everything I’ve done I’ve done for them,” he said.
“My brothers and my sister, on my bad days they were the first to pick me up and my wife and children, my wife’s sacrifices and the patience she has, for that I’m really grateful.
“My parents are my number one, I feel like I wouldn’t have made it without their support.”
Moeen also thanked former coach Peter Moores, current head coach Chris Silverwood, former captain Sir Alastair Cook and current skipper Joe Root.
He added that he hoped his testing career would inspire other British Muslims to play for England.
“I would love to say, one day in 10 years, to someone, ‘Moeen made it easier for me,’” he said.
“There were people before me who made it easier, so you hope to open the door to someone else.”
He is currently in the United Arab Emirates playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
He was the captain of Birmingham Phoenix in the first men’s hundred that summer and is expected to continue playing domestic white ball cricket for Worcestershire.
“A big loss” for the test team – Root
England Test captain Root said Moeen was “a huge loss” for the team and wished the all-rounder “every success in everything he does”.
Root added that Moeen was “sometimes underrated” outside the locker room, but never in it.
Moeen reached his first Test century in just his second game, scoring four tons in 2016 but never added to that tally and also hit between one and nine for England in every position.
Root said there “may have been times when we could have done things a little differently” when asked about England’s management by Moeen, but added, “I could say that about many things.”
He said Moeen was “a wonderful role model” and that he hopes young boys and girls will “want to follow in his footsteps for doing fabulous things”.
“The way he holds himself is amazing. He leaves a legacy,” added Root.
Analysis – Moeen leaves Ascheloch for England
Stephan Shemilt from BBC Sport
Only two weirdos – Derek Underwood and Graeme Swann – have taken more test wicks for England than Moeen, but you wonder if he ended his career as a somewhat underrated ending.
At his best, Moeen’s hitting was so elegant that an average of 28 is a modest return, and frustrations over those returns overshadowed his worth with the ball. Perhaps his place as a bowler would never have been challenged if he had a rabbit off his tail were.
Without him, and possibly Ben Stokes, England will face a problem when it comes to balancing their Ashes team. How do they keep their clout for a long time, play close enough and a specialized spinner?
Moeen has admitted that the requirements of an Ashes tour played a role in this decision.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has received information from Cricket Australia on the conditions and restrictions that tourists will face. There will be quite a bit of back and forth between the two boards before it is presented to the English players later this week.
After that, the players make individual decisions about their participation before a roster is named in the week starting October 4th. By then, some of them are already on their way to the Twenty20 World Cup.