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'That's me done' - Moeen says no to McCullum's request to stay on

England coach asked the allrounder if he would play the India series in early 2024

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Moeen Ali came out of Test retirement to play the Ashes  •  Philip Brown/Getty Images

Moeen Ali came out of Test retirement to play the Ashes  •  Philip Brown/Getty Images

England coach Brendon McCullum asked Moeen Ali if he would consider playing the five-match series in India in early 2024 during their win at The Oval but was told: "That's me done".
Moeen retired from Test cricket in September 2021 but made himself available for the Ashes after Jack Leach was diagnosed with a stress fracture. Ben Stokes, England's captain, sent him a text saying, "Ashes?" and Moeen could not resist the temptation to return, but insisted after the fifth Test: "If Stokesy messages me again, I'm going to delete it."
He joked that confirmation of the venues for England's tour to India - with none of the five Tests due to be held in the bigger cities in the country - had played a part in him recommitting to his retirement, but said that Stokes and McCullum had been fully aware that he never intended to play beyond this summer.
"They knew from the start," Moeen said, laughing. "Especially when those India venues came out! Baz asked me again when I had my day off on the second day. I said no. I'm not going [to India]. There's no way I'm going. That's me done. It's nice to finish like this and be part of an amazing day."
Moeen suffered a groin strain while batting on the first day of the fifth Test and did not field in Australia's first innings, but returned to bowl 23 overs in their second, taking 3 for 76 as England squared the series with a 49-run win on the final day.
"Test cricket is the best cricket," Moeen said. "I wish I could rewind time. Although my career has been a bit up and down, I wouldn't change it. I've loved it. I would have regretted it later in life. It was quite daunting, because I've never done well against Australia.
"I still don't believe I've done that well, but it was great to finish like this. It was daunting, but I had nothing to lose, it was a free hit. I had a call from Baz and Stokesy, I felt like I was bowling alright, but the finger was the only issue. I wasn't worried about the bowling."
Moeen said his groin strain was "real sore" when he initially pulled the muscle, and it remains to be seen how much of a part he plays in the Hundred over the next four weeks, when he is due to captain Birmingham Phoenix.
"It's something called an adductor. I'd never heard of it before," he explained. "It's only when I'm running. It's great actually, because you can get away with being rubbish in the field. Guys are moving their positions for me to go into the easiest positions.
"Apparently it settles down quick. Not bowling in the first innings and having a day off allowed me to bowl today. It was real sore at first and I was quite sore [on Monday]. It crossed my mind that I might not be able to bowl, but I knew it was my last day in Test cricket."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98