Kevin Pietersen and Nasser Hussain doubt England all-rounder Moeen Ali is ‘an option’ for the second Ashes Test against Australia.
Ben Stokes’ side will look to level the five-match series at Lord’s next week following an agonising two-wicket defeat at Edgbaston.
Just seven runs separated the teams after the first innings and Australia were set 281 to win in four sessions after England once again attacked with the bat on day four.
Momentum swung back and forth in the fourth innings but an unlikely 55-run ninth-wicket partnership between Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon steered Australia to a narrow win.
England, aiming to win back the Ashes, will try to respond in the second Test at Lord’s but could be without first-choice spinner Moeen.
The 36-year-old, who came out of Test retirement to play in the Ashes, picked up a nasty blister on his spinning finger as he sent down 47 overs at Edgbaston without much preparation.
‘I don’t think he is an option, just because of the last over he bowled to Marnus Labuschagne,’ Pietersen said on Sky Sports before the start of day five.
‘When you see that image – and I was an off-spinner, albeit not a very good one! – it’s not fun.
‘His job is that finger, and every time you grip that ball and it’s sore, it’s a problem. It’s like bowler with a knee or an ankle problem.
‘Will he be as effective? I don’t think so. But that’s also another reason why I think a guy like Cameron Green, if Moeen Ali comes on you should smack him.’
Former England captain Hussain added: ‘If there is one ground you could leave your spinner out and play Root, it would be Lord’s – unless it’s absolutely baking.
‘It doesn’t always turn there in the Test matches, but it can get very flat so you may need your spinner there in a holding role.
‘The problem in English first-class cricket is of the leading 46 wicket-takers, 44 are seamers – and the two spinners are Simon Harmer at Essex, who can’t play for us, and Jack Leach who is injured.
‘Will Jacks obviously came in against Pakistan and got a six-for o his debut. If you’re going to go for a second spinner, it has to be someone who is a lot better than Root.
‘Liam Dawson at Hampshire – Rob Key has always been a fan of his. Tom Hartley at Lancashire bats a bit as well, Rehan Ahmed hasn’t bowled much, and the problem is then you’re leaving out someone like Anderson, Broad or Robinson.
‘It’s really tricky, you hope Moeen would improve, but I would think about Root and four seamers.’
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