Moeen clarifies Alastair Cook row after pair’s awkward TV exchange during Ashes

Moeen Ali has moved to play down the tension between him and former England Test captain Alastair Cook during the recent Ashes series.

The pair worked together as pundits for BT Sport, but due to travel constraints, voiced their analysis in a studio 10,000 miles away from Australia alongside presenter Matt Smith.

In September, Ali, 34, surprisingly announced his retirement from Test cricket, prompting many fans to lament a career where the all-rounder was perceived to have been mistreated.

Ali played 34 times at Test level for his country, scoring more than 2,900 runs and taking 195 wickets, but despite five centuries in the longer format struggled to nail down a regular position in the batting order.

He was given his debut under Cook in June 2014, with the former opener continuing to lead England for two years after that, during which time England successfully regained the Ashes on home soil – a series Ali was instrumental in.

However, during the New Year's Test at Sydney, the Worcestershire player appeared to take aim at his one-time team-mate, by making comparisons of his leadership style to that of current captain Joe Root.

"Cooky would never give you throw-downs," he told Smith.

"Rooty has more of an emotional attachment with the players, he spends more time with the players."

When Cook queried if Ali was criticising his captaincy, he responded "I am a little bit, yes," before making a further dig about how his batting position fluctuated from "one to nine."

An embarrassed Cook, 37, struggled to respond, and the awkward exchange was widely deemed to be Ali venting frustrations about his Test career.

Later in the Test, Ali suggested the Essex man didn't have the 'patience or empathy' to embark on a coaching career.

However, Ali – who remains available for England in white-ball cricket – has now argued the 'fall-out' was exaggerated.

“It was massively taken out of context,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“I was just saying the differences between him and Rooty really. It doesn't mean Rooty is the right way or the wrong way or Cookie is the right or wrong way. We get on really well.”

The Ashes series proved a humbling one for England, with only a nail-biting draw in Sydney preventing a 5-0 whitewash.

And Ali admitted having to give critique on the side was difficult.

“You have to talk about your teammates or your ex-teammates. Obviously, we didn't play well so it makes it a little bit harder.”

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