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Cricket news - Moeen felt returning for South Africa tour was 'too soon'
I have put no time frame on things. I just want to get that buzz back: Moeen
Moeen Ali, the England all-rounder, admitted that he was tempted to "get back out there" following talks with the captain and team management ahead of the South Africa tour but eventually decided to extend his break from the national team, which he feels will help him extend his Test career.
In a column for The Guardian, Moeen wrote that being away from the England team has "felt quite liberating" considering the number of games he has played for England since his debut in 2014, especially as an all-rounder playing all three formats, which in turn took a toll on his Test performances.
"Last week there were conversations about whether I felt ready to return for the South Africa tour and naturally part of me was keen to get back out there. My record against them is pretty good and as a team we have happy memories of winning there four years ago," Moeen wrote.
"But it just felt too soon. The past few years have been so full-on and the plan behind my break from Test cricket was to freshen up, enjoy some new environments and get my game back in good order. That is something that people perhaps don't realise is hard to do when you play all three international formats and particularly so when you are an all-rounder.
"The time away has felt quite liberating. Since my international debut in 2014 the miles on the clock have probably crept up and Test cricket is the level where the pressure and scrutiny are greatest. Combining it all had become a bit draining and rushing back now might have seen nothing change in this regard," added Moeen.
Moeen was thankful to the England management for understanding his situation despite criticism from media and former captains, including Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan, who weren't too pleased with his decision to step away from Test cricket.
"The England management have been very understanding, although it has been slightly strange reading some of the reaction to this in the media, including the idea that 2019 has been tough for me on a personal level. As well as becoming a dad for the second time, I look back on the past 12 months in cricket with a huge amount of pride and satisfaction.
"To be part of a World Cup-winning squad was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There was no resentment or sadness from missing the later games. The tournament became seamer-heavy in terms of conditions and I had full faith that Eoin Morgan was picking the right team to win. He always explained his decisions to me. So this was anything but a hard time.
While admitting that his performance in his lone Ashes Test was disappointing, Moeen reflected on his performances prior to that.
"My one disappointing Test match against Australia had a few contributing factors that get overlooked but in the 12 months leading into it I had been the leading wicket-taker in the world. I had a very good winter with the ball, one that taught me lots, and particularly when it came to bowling in the subcontinent in Sri Lanka," he wrote.
Moeen acknowledged that his return to the England set-up, for which he doesn't have any specific "time frame", will not be easy.
"I have put no time frame on things. I just want to get that buzz back - a feeling of making my debut again - and ultimately become a better player for it. And there is no expectation of simply walking back into the Test team, far from it. I have taken a risk with this break but I'm still gunning for Jack Leach, Matt Parkinson and all my England teammates to have a great series in South Africa."
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