England all-rounder Moeen Ali announced his retirement from Test cricket on September 27, 2021. Ali, 34, had a start-stop Test career recently as he had previously taken a break from the format and then couldn’t cement his place in the England XI. However, he has said that he could have been as good as Ben Stokes if he had gotten more chances to bat at the top of the order.
Ali played 64 Tests for England making 2914 runs and picking 195 wickets from 2014-2021. He was once one of the most sought-after all-rounders in Test cricket for the England team, but the entry of Ben Stokes changed those dynamics for the three lions and he became the first-choice all-rounder.
Though I Was Disappointed, But Moving Ben Stokes Up The Order Was The Right Decision: Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali, whose family belongs to Pakistan, said that he felt that his batting was left underutilized and wasted in the lower order and that he could have done much more had he gotten chances up the batting order like Ben Stokes was given. Moeen Ali batted at No. 6 in the early part of his Test career before Ben Stokes was moved up the order.
“That century in my second Test [against Sri Lanka at Leeds in 2014] was my best by far. I didn’t even look at my bowling at that time. I just thought if I get a few overs, happy days. But my mindset with the bat was different. I was myself as a batter,” Moeen Ali told Cricinfo in an interview.
He added: “I just remember when we played New Zealand [at Lord’s in 2015] and Ben Stokes had that amazing Test (92, 101 & 3/38). I’d been batting at No. 6 and he was No. 8. I think I’d scored 60-odd in my last Test at No. 6 in Barbados. Alastair Cook said, ‘look, I know you’re playing well, but we’re going to swap things around because we think Stokesy can do more.’ It was disappointing. I wouldn’t say I knew it was the right decision.”
I Do Feel Like My Batting Was A Little Bit Wasted: Moeen Ali
Ali agreed that Stokes made the most of the chances he got with the bat, but lamented not getting enough opportunities to prove himself.
“Obviously Stokesy turned out to be an amazing player. But I sometimes feel, maybe, that could have been me if I was given a bit more of a run there. I would have loved to bat up the order more. I didn’t always have the temperament or the technique but I certainly feel if I’d been given a run somewhere for a while I’d have been fine,” he said.
“I do feel like my batting was a little bit wasted. I could have done better than I’ve done. I feel like I could have scored more Test hundreds, for sure. I could have scored a lot more runs,” Moeen Ali said.
Ali retires with 5 Test centuries to his name, while his final Test match coming against India at the Oval recently.