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International Cricket: Moeen Ali steadfast on Test future

Moeen Ali has confirmed he will not be reversing his decision to quit Test cricket and will continue to focus on just the shorter formats for England.

Moeen has revealed he spoke to England red-ball coach Brendon McCullum about the possibility of coming out of five-day retirement for his country but, following an honest conversation, the 35-year-old says "it's time to close the door" on Test cricket.

McCullum chat

Moeen first announced his retirement from the five-day game 12 months ago but he was contacted by McCullum this summer to see if there was a chance he could reverse his decision.

However, the all-rounder, who has just overseen a 4-3 T20 series win in Pakistan as stand-in skipper, says he will not be returning to the Test scene and wants to instead concentrate on playing a key role in future One-Day Internationals and T20Is for England.

Moeen lamented the tough schedule, with players often holed up in hotel rooms away from their families for weeks on end while on tour, as one of the main reasons why he cannot commit and return to playing the longest format of the game.

'Hard work'

The former Worcestershire star admits he wouldn't be able to give his all to England in Tests, describing the five-day game as "hard work".

He wrote in his Daily Mail column: "I've had an honest chat with Baz (McCullum) and I can't see myself being stuck in hotels for another month and playing to the best of my ability.

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"Baz phoned me, we spoke at length and I said, 'Sorry, I'm done'. He understands, he knows the feeling. Test cricket is hard work. I'm 35 and something's got to give."

Moeen, who said playing Test matches for England had been a "dream fulfilled" and a "privilege", made his Test debut in 2014 and went on to play in 64 five-day games, scoring an average of 28.29 runs, while picking up 195 wickets for his country.

McCullum impresses as new Test coach

Without Moeen involved, England have enjoyed a fine Test summer under the new leadership of McCullum and popular skipper Ben Stokes, with the duo seen as being largely responsible for unleashing an entertaining and attacking brand of cricket that has earned them plenty of plaudits.

McCullum's side have recently beaten New Zealand and South Africa in two thrilling home series' and are next in Test action when they play a three-match series against Pakistan in Rawalpindi, Multan and Karachi in December.

Ashes on horizon

The attention will then soon be on next summer's home Ashes series against the Aussies, after England have first visited New Zealand in February and there is a one-off Test planned against Ireland before the Ashes too.

For Moeen his focus now, though, is on the T20 format with the Warwickshire star set to play a key role in Australia when the World Cup gets underway later this month.

WhatT20 World Cup 2022
WhereAustralia
When16th October - 13th November, 2022
How to watchSky Sports Cricket
OddsAustralia 11/4, India 10/3, England 7/2, Pakistan 15/2, South Africa 8/1, New Zealand 8/1

England first play the tournament hosts in three warm-up games between October 9th-14th and, after the T20 series success over Pakistan, when the tourists eventually prevailed during a nip-and-tuck seven games, hopes are high that Matthew Mott's side can compete for overall glory Down Under.

Moeen has opted to talk down England's chances ahead of the tournament and suggested India and Australia are "the two favourites", although he did admit the Three Lions were a "dangerous team" who look to be warming up nicely for the event.

Pakistan World Cup opening opponents

Jos Buttler's side take on Pakistan in their T20 World Cup opener on 17th November, before a clash with Pakistan on 22nd November.

Buttler missed the recent Pakistan warm-up series with a calf injury but the white-ball captain is expected to make his return this month in time for the tournament.

England are 7/2 to win their second T20 World Cup, emulating the class of 2010, hosts Australia are 11/4, India are 10/3 and Pakistan are 15/2.

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