Moeen Ali has indicated he would be open to a Test return once cricket resumes after reflecting on his recent absence during the coronavirus lockdown.
The 32-year-old all-rounder sat out the Test legs of England’s winter tours of New Zealand and South Africa, as well the aborted trip to Sri Lanka, having requested a spell away from the pressures of the longest format at the end of last summer.
But speaking in an exclusive question-and-answer session with Guardian readers, Moeen said: “I think I’d probably be ready [to play Test cricket] now, to be honest. Clearly I would have to be playing well and win a spot back on merit. But in terms of being available – and obviously I’m speaking hypothetically – if there was a Test match tomorrow and I got the call, I’d say ‘yes’.
“We’re all missing cricket right now and coronavirus makes you realise what you love. It could take out the whole summer and that would be a big thing.”
Dropped after a poor first Test against Australia last summer – one that followed arguably his best 12 months with the ball – Moeen admitted to feeling like a scapegoat at times during a 60-cap career that has reaped five centuries and 181 wickets.
The current period of inactivity has given him time to process this, however, with Moeen adding: “When you find yourself surrounded by a few negative comments, somehow it’s all you can focus on. You have to be mentally stronger and filter more of it out.
“It’s almost been a case of forgiving anyone who has ever said anything I didn’t like and now looking to start afresh when we get back playing. I may have felt a scapegoat at times in the past but I’m over it now. It’s time to move on.”
• Read the full Q&A with Moeen Ali from 8am BST on Saturday