England all-rounder Moeen Ali has been added to their Test squad and is set to feature in their XI for the second Test against India at Lord's. Moeen has been considered since he provides an off-spinning option along with his batting talent. The Three Lions are looking to find the perfect balance in their squad in the absence of all-rounders Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes. Ali is expected to join the squad on Tuesday.
Notably, Joe Root led the side without the services of a frontline spinner in the Nottingham Test which ended in a draw. Although Moeen appears to be their bet, in case they are looking at a double-skilled individual, he has played just one first-class game in the last 23 months. However, he has been in great form in limited-overs cricket especially in the T20 Blast competition where he scored a 23-ball half-century for Birmingham Phoenix on Monday. England would be hoping he could translate some of that form into red-ball cricket.
Last played a Test in February 2021
His last Test appearance also came against India in February 2021 in Chennai. However, despite picking eight wickets in that Test match in Chennai, he returned home as part of the England and Wales Cricket Board's rotation policy. If Moeen gets to play the Test, this will be his first Test on home soil since the 2019 Ashes where he played the match which England lost at Edgbaston. Post that, Moeen had announced an indefinite break from the format which saw him miss the remainder of that series and tours of New Zealand and South Africa.
Impressive record against India
As of now, Moeen has 189 wickets at 36.24 in 61 matches. Moreover, his record on home soil against India could be another factor that could have led to his selection. He has taken 31 wickets at 22.22 across seven previous matches against the same opponent in 2014 and 2018- all in English conditions- including a nine-wicket haul at the Ageas Bowl, which won him the Player of the Match.
The second Test match of the five-match series is set to commence on August 12 at the Lord's Cricket Stadium in London.