Chris Silverwood apologises for announcement of Moeen Ali's departure

Chris Silverwood apologises after England were criticised for saying Moeen Ali had ‘chosen’ to leave India tour when all-rounder was set to start a rest period granted by the ECB

  • Chris Silverwood has apologised for how Moeen Ali’s departure was announced
  • Joe Root said Moeen had ‘chosen’ to leave the India tour after the second test
  • But the all-rounder was set to take up a rest period granted by the ECB 
  • Silverwood insisted it was England’s decision to send Moeen home

Chris Silverwood has issued a public apology to Moeen Ali for seeming to blame him for his departure from India and insisted it was England’s decision to send him home.

The cracks in England’s controversial rest and rotation policy appeared to widen when captain Joe Root said in the aftermath of India’s convincing second Test victory that Moeen had ‘chosen’ to miss the last two games in England’s marquee series.

But coach Silverwood is adamant Moeen has been treated no differently to other England multi-format players who have been given time off in this busiest of years and believes the all-rounder still has a Test future.

Chris Silverwood has apologised for how Moeen Ali’s India tour departure was announced

The England head coach said the team management were ‘happy to own that decision’

‘We’re sorry we gave the impression Moeen is being treated differently to other people,’ said Silverwood yesterday. ‘He isn’t. I can guarantee you that. The decision for him to go home was ours as it was with the others. We’re happy to own that decision.’

Silverwood admitted Moeen was asked to stay on for the final two Tests in Ahmedabad and miss white-ball games next month instead after taking eight wickets on his comeback in Chennai and smashing 43 off 18 balls.

‘The question was posed to him,’ said the coach. ‘We try to work closely with the players to make sure we look after them as best we can so it was asked. It was a unique situation, the fact he’d spent so long in isolation after getting Covid and had only just broken back into the team. But ultimately we felt it was right for him to go home.’

And the coach confirmed both he and Root had sought out Moeen to clarify the situation after his move to ‘choose’ to go home attracted fierce criticism on social media. ‘We touched base with Mo last night and he was fine,’ said Silverwood. ‘He understands we’ve got his best interests at heart, just like the other players in these strange times.’

Silverwood insists the policy which has seen key players like Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood all being rested for Tests already this year is unavoidable in a year of non-stop cricket in a pandemic world.

Joe Root sought Moeen out after saying he had ‘chosen’ to leave following the second Test

‘It’s something we’ve just got to get on with and make work as best we can,’ he said. ‘People do need to see family and spend time out of these bubbles to freshen their minds up so when they are here they’re 100 per cent and ready to perform.’

But England have chosen a full-strength squad for five Twenty20 matches in India next month, leading to accusations they have gone back on their pledge to prioritise Test cricket in an Ashes year.

‘Test cricket is really important to me,’ said Silverwood. ‘I’ve always said that and it’s something Joe and I are very passionate about. We are prioritising Test and T20 equally at the moment and we have the opportunity to have a dry run next month for the T20 World Cup in India later this year.’

England’s top players are still missing Tests while being allowed to play in the Indian Premier League in April and May. Test players Buttler, Stokes, Archer, Bairstow and Sam Curran have all been retained to play in this year’s IPL while Moeen and Wood have entered today’s auction. Surely that is when they should be resting in this unique year?

‘It’s very difficult to tell players they can’t play in the IPL,’ added Silverwood. ‘You certainly can’t say yes to one and no to another. If they are playing in it, they are playing in it. Simple as that and i embrace that.

‘We will reap the rewards when they come back and play T20 for us having improved their skills and have knowledge about other team’s players. I don’t think it’s an issue. I can understand why some people would be frustrated but I’m at peace with where we are.’

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