England versatile Moeen Ali will leave Worcestershire to return to Warwickshire when his Pears contract expires at the end of the season.
Moeen, 35, who was born in Birmingham, was 19 when he left the Bears in 2006, captaining Worcestershire to victory in the T20 Blast at Edgbaston in 2018.
He has also been linked with a move to Yorkshire, as well as Warwickshire.
But he turned down a “very attractive long deal” at Worcester to sign the Bears’ three-year deal.
Negotiations with Moeen, who is under a five-year contract at New Road, continued over the weekend through Monday. But, although Yorkshire also made an offer, it ended up being a direct choice between staying on New Road or returning to his native Birmingham.
“I want to be in a team that challenges and does well,” Moeen said during one of his recent appearances on the BBC Test Match Special.
Moeen have played just seven of Blast Worcestershire’s 14 T20 group games this season, scoring just 105 runs, and haven’t played a County Championship game since September 2019 or a List A game for the Pears since June 2018.
There is also a clause in his new contract that will make him available to red ball cricket for the Bears on a pay-as-you-go basis.
He follows Ed Barnard as Warwickshire’s second signing of their longtime Midlands rivals in seven days.
‘Unfinished business at the Bears’
“I’m happy to be back in Edgbaston,” said Moeen. “I was born and raised just a few miles away. When the opportunity presented itself, it was a decision I couldn’t turn down.
“I believe I have unfinished business at the Bears. I am very happy to be back, playing in front of the best atmosphere in world cricket.
“I am sad to leave Worcestershire after such a long time and I loved every minute of it. I’ve played with some amazing people and owe a huge thank you to the club for bringing me here and giving me the platform to perform.
Bears cricket director Paul Farbrace added: “Mo is a huge signing for Warwickshire and a real statement of intent for our ambitions. He is someone I have known for many years and is a leader on and off the pitch.”
Even though he’s been away for 15 years, Moeen has always enjoyed a punch at Edgbaston.
He has made it two centuries and half a century in six List A meetings with Warwickshire in Birmingham, and hit his first T20 tonnes at Edgbaston to beat the Bears in the final group game in 2018 and inspire Worcestershire to their first one-day knockout trophy success in 24 years.
Last season he also led Birmingham Phoenix to the inaugural Men’s Hundred finals.
After passing through the youth ranks at Edgbaston, Moeen had played just seven first-class games and nine List A games for Warwickshire when he left for New Road, where his older brother Kadeer and cousin Kabir began their careers.
But his exciting success with Worcestershire finally gave him a chance with England in 2014. He made his one-day international debut in February of that year and his T20 debut in March on a Caribbean winter tour, followed by his Test debut in June.
Since then he has made 2,914 runs and took 195 wickets in 64 Tests, as well as hitting 1,919 runs and taking 90 wickets in 115 ODI games and 637 runs and 33 wickets in 49 T20Is.
Despite not playing in the final, he was also part of England’s 2019 World Cup-winning squad.
Moeen retired from Test cricket last year after returning from a two-year exile but has twice told BBC Sport of his undying love for Test cricket.
He has spoken to new Test England head coach Brendon McCullum and said the “door is open” for a possible return of the red ball.
Apart from leading Worcestershire to back-to-back T20 Blast finals, winning the trophy in 2018 and finishing runners-up in 2019, Moeen has been a player in high demand in short-term tournaments around the world.
He has played in Bangladesh Premier League, Mzansi Super League in South Africa and Pakistan Super League.
Moeen also has two stints in the Indian Premier League, first with Royal Challengers Bangalore, then Chennai Super Kings, with whom he became the first English player to play in the winning team of the IPL final in 2021, before returning to England last summer. for Hundred, international duty and four T20 games with Worcestershire.