Moeen Ali collects OBE for services to cricket on the day he’s named in England’s team for the first Ashes Test… as the spinner misses training to pick up the award
- Moeen had answered England’s SOS call after spinner Jack Leach got injured
- He is down to bat at number eight for England in the first Test, starting Friday
- He had arranged to pick up the award this week because he was set to be free
Moeen Ali has collected his OBE from Windsor Castle for services to cricket.
The off-spinner answered England’s SOS call to play in the Ashes series after regular spinner Jack Leach picked up an injury that will rule him out of the summer.
Moeen hasn’t played red ball cricket for two years, but he accepted the call, admitting he would not have come out of retirement for any captain other than Ben Stokes.
But he missed training on Wednesday to collect the OBE, saying that head coach Brendon McCullum said he was fine to do so having pre-arranged the visit.
Moeen headed to Windsor along with wife Firoza and parents Munir and Maqsood for a ceremony, delayed from last year until this week because he thought he had a gap in his calendar.
Moeen Ali has collected his OBE from Windsor Castle for his services to cricket
The England spinner missed training ahead of the first Ashes Test to collect the award
He returned to the Test set-up after answering a spinner SOS call from captain Ben Stokes
Over his career Moeen has played 64 Test matches, 129 One Day International and 74 T20s for England.
‘I’ve been trying to book it for a while,’ said Moeen on Tuesday. ‘I’ve not really been able to find a date before now but I’m still going. I spoke to Baz (McCullum) and he said it was fine.
‘Mum and dad love it so I’m taking them and my wife. I’ve had to buy a new three piece suit for the occasion and it’s going to be boiling hot!’
The 35-year-old posed with his medal in the London heat on Wednesday as he wore a beaming smile on his face, suited and booted in a maroon three-piece suit and lighter tie.
His focus will now turn back to cricket, however, having been named in England’s XI for the first Test at Edgbaston, starting Friday.
He is down to bat at number eight for Ben Stokes’s side as they look to regain the urn for the first time since 2015.
He will provide a spin option for England while batting at number eight at Edgbaston
He will also provide a spin option for the hosts at his home ground, though his recall was the centre of controversy after he was picked over more regular red ball spinners.
While Ali is a hugely popular character and would be warmly welcomed into Stokes’ squad, Mail Sport has been told there is considerably resentment among players on the fringes at the prospect of the Warwickshire spinner being permitted to pick and choose his availability for Test cricket.
‘It’s a difficult one for me because I never picked myself. I just got the call,’ he said on the topic.
‘Obviously there are players out there that are playing and doing alright, but I think they (England) know me quite well and it’s not just having the character and the person in the changing room that you want. The results do matter, the process, the matches. I’ve got to perform and make some important impacts in the game.’
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