We must respect Moeen Ali’s decision to leave England’s Test tour of India: Nasser Hussain 

Moeen Ali

Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain has come to the defense of Moeen Ali, who decided to head home after the second Test against India.

Moeen Ali was England’s top-performer in their 317-run loss to India in the second Chennai Test. Playing a Test match for the first time in more than a year, the all-rounder picked up eight wickets in the game. He also played a 43-run cameo in the visitors’ second innings.

In a press conference after the game, England skipper Joe Root revealed Moeen Ali’s decision to leave the bio-bubble. It drew a lot of flak from the fans back home. Writing for the Daily Mail, Nasser Hussain called the criticism ‘unfair’.

“We must respect the choice Moeen Ali made to leave England’s Test tour of India even though he is only just back into the side following an absence of 18 months… My concern is that people think it’s fine for Jos, Jonny, Mark Wood and Sam Curran to be missing currently but unfairly dress up the situation for Moeen differently because of the circumstances. Somehow assume that the decision to rest those four had been taken out of their hands, and yet conclude that this was solely the player’s call,” Nasser Hussain wrote.

The former England captain further added in this regard:

“Mo is someone who always cops a lot of flak, which is totally unjust. He’s a bloomin’ good bloke who has given a lot to English cricket. Someone who will do anything for you… I don’t like someone being hung out to dry through an interpretation that he took a certain choice. They all made the same one. It’s just the timing of Moeen’s that will be considered less than ideal. That’s not his fault. Yes, in India you ideally want consistency of selection with your spin bowlers, I get that, but if a player says he needs to be out of the bubble, then that’s the end of the conversation.”

Moeen Ali replaced off-spinner Dom Bess in England’s playing 11 for the second Test. Despite taking five wickets in the first Chennai Test, Bess was conspicuously inconsistent with the ball.

Nasser Hussain has advised England to refrain from making excuses and wants the visitors to be better focussed for the remainder of the series. He urged Joe Root’s team to iron out the issues that surfaced in Chennai.

“Their mindset needs to stay positive and focused. It’s very easy to get into a siege mentality on tour – especially so, I guess when you are living in a bubble. There must be no excuses like ‘it was a rubbish pitch in Chennai’, or ‘was a result of losing the toss’, the umpiring, DRS, whatever,” Nasser Hussain wrote.

Nasser Hussain also added:

“Otherwise, they can easily lose the next Test match before they even get to Ahmedabad. If I were them, I’d be turning off my social media channels, ignoring my phone, and concentrating on what’s gone wrong so that it can be put right for that first ball when the series resumes a week on Wednesday.”

The third Test will be a day-night contest and will be played at Ahmedabad’s new Motera Stadium from February 24.

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