Moeen: "I was hoping I was going to get dropped"

If you've not listed to Moeen's interview with Sky Sports, I think it's well worth heading over to give it a listen. It's an open, honest and frank account of where Moeen was when he decided he needed a break away from test cricket.

When Moeen announced he was taking a break from Test Cricket, he wrote in his Guardian column that it was to prolong his playing career.

"Representing England has always been a privilege and my decision to take a break from Test cricket at the end of the home summer was made to ensure that, hopefully, I can do it for a lot longer."

He was coming off an Ashes performance that drew plenty of criticism. He was coming off a test where he took 3 wickets for 172 runs while just scoring 4 runs himself. He looked a shadow of the player we knew.

"I almost stopped enjoying going out and playing, not wanting to be there, and that's not a great place to be. It was only going to get worse, I needed to step back"
"I remember the Ashes game and thinking I don't want to be here, that's the worst place a cricketer can be in, and it definitely affected body language was horrendous throughout the game"

You have to remember how important Moeen has been for the England test team. He's bowled over 1800 overs, taking 181 wickets including a 10/112 performance against South Africa at Lords in 2017.

Not to mention the fact that he's scored over 2700 runs for England at a very commendable average of 28.98. Which when you think about it, for a lower-middle order-batsmen, that's an average you'd take.

However when you're not enjoying your cricket, it's easy to see how you can let your performances slip, and at the end of the day, that's not good for you and that's not good for your team either.

"I felt completely burnt out from travelling, the media, and playing in such big games"
"I've always had the support (from the dressing room)...Every time we lost it was like he played the worst shot of anyone, it almost becomes quite daunting, your afraid to play any shot in the end and you get caught in-between"

In 2019 Moeen lost his central contract from the ECB. Which for many was a surprise. Moeen had said he wanted to take a break from international cricket, but you never got the impression that he wasn't going to return.

He lost his white-ball contract on the back of a very good year, in the run-up to the first Ashes test, Moeen had taken more test wickets than anyone else in the previous 12 months. Including 7 wickets in the test against the West Indies at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium. Moeen admits to being disappointed at losing his contract:

"I understood why I lost it, but it was also disappointing. Because actually before that test match, I was having a good year with the ball, I'd had a couple of good winters away from home which probably hasn't happened before. But it gave me an opportunity when all these leagues came in. That made me feel as though I must be a decent player if all these teams are coming in for me"

One of the main arguments I've seen against Moeen is that despite him wanting a break, he went away and played in the PSL, played in the T10 in Abu Dhabi etc. But he clarified that it wasn't a break from cricket he needed, it was a break from the scrutiny that came with playing for England as a test player.

I can understand why Mo wanted to take a break from England if he started to feel that down and that under-appreciated, it's only natural to want to getaway. However, I personally hope to see him back soon.

"I love playing cricket, and I don't want anyone to think I don't love playing for England. It's the greatest thing anyone can do, play for their own country"


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