Moeen Ali hopes the Edgbaston faithful understands his decision to come out of Test Match retirement for the LV= Insurance Men’s Ashes – and says he’ll proudly represent England as a Bear.
Ali – who had called time on his 64-Test red ball career two years ago – was offered the chance to return to the international fold after spinner Jack Leach was ruled out with a back injury.
The 35-year-old – who signed a three-year deal with the Bears last year and is the Club’s Vitality Blast captain – said he thought long and hard over the decision and that it was one of the toughest calls he’s had to make in cricket.
“Playing in an Ashes for England is something that won’t come around again for me,” he said,” in fact I don’t think I would even have got the call from Stoksey (Ben Stokes) had it not been an Ashes.
“I’ve signed a three-year contract with the Bears so my intention is to play many games with the Club and help us to win trophies. I love playing here at Edgbaston, in front of my home crowd, and I think we have a bright future.
“Having recently retired and just coming out of the side it’s not too bad slotting back in. It would have been hard for someone coming in on debut or someone who’s played very little Test cricket. I weighed everything up when making my decision and this was a factor.
“It was a really hard decision for me and not one I was expecting I would need to make. My message for Bears fans is that while I’m representing England I will proudly be representing them as a Bear.”
Ali said he thinks the Bears are well-placed to kick on in this year’s Blast with blend of exciting young talent and experienced pro’s.
He’s taken key wickets since his return – notably in his first win as Captain against Northants Steelbacks last Friday when he bowled tight overs to stifle the visitors’ run chase – but accepts he’s underperformed with the bat.
“I would have liked to have scored a lot more runs,” he added. “In T20 you can go three or four games without scoring, but I feel I’ve contributed with the ball at times.
“I’ve taken a bit of time settling in, making an influence on the side and how I see the team going forward over the next two or three years. I feel I know players better, and how I can get the best out of them, including when the bowlers bowl at their best.
“It was kind of the same at Worcester, it took some time initially but then we started to win and do well so I’m hoping the same thing happens here.
“The Bears have a very good squad, experienced players and some very good young players. I feel it’s exciting and the potential is there to win trophies. We are in a good position and even without myself we’ve got a lot of backup which is really important.
“I will always give my all when playing for the Bears.”
£15 tickets for home quarter-final
Bears have secured a home Vitality Blast quarter-final which will be on Thursday 6 July, with adult tickets only £15.
Tickets ware available online at tickets.edgbaston.com or on the day via the Ticket Office. Members and Season Pass holders can attend for free by scanning their card at the gate.