Spinning allrounder recalled to balance side in wake of England’s struggles at Trent Bridge
Moeen, the off-spinning all-rounder, is expected to join up with the squad at training today (Tuesday) as England attempt to balance a side missing key all-rounder Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes.
England were unable to find a place for a frontline spinner in the team that drew the first Test.
He last played a Test in February, also against India in the second Test in Chennai, where he claimed eight wickets in the match, but subsequently returned home as part of England’s rest and rotation policy.
The call-up means that Moeen is set to play his first Test on home soil since the 2019 Ashes, when he featured in England’s defeat in the series opener at Edgbaston, then took an indefinite break from the format, for the remainder of the series as well as the subsequent tours of New Zealand and South Africa.
To date in Test cricket he has claimed 189 wickets at 36.24 in 61 matches, at a sub-60 strike rate that is better than each of the more celebrated spinners above him in England’s wicket-takers’ list – Derek Underwood, Graeme Swann and Jim Laker. Meanwhile his record on home soil against India is particularly impressive. He has taken 31 wickets at 22.22 across seven previous matches in 2014 and 2018, including a Player-of-the-Match-winning nine-wicket haul at the Ageas Bowl following his mid-series recall.
Moeen has also struck five Test centuries in his career to date, and though the most recent of those came in December 2016, it was also made against India – the second of his two on that winter’s tour. His most recent Test innings was a hard-hitting knock of 43 from 18 balls, made from No.9 in the closing moments of England’s defeat in Chennai in February.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo