Finding a pace all-rounder in sub-continent conditions and a spin all-rounder in non-sub-continent conditions are as rare as hens teeth. But, England had found one in Moeen Ali in recent times. The left-handed batsman and the right-arm off-spinner announced his Test retirement on Monday morning. “I am 34 now and I want to play for as long as I can and I just want to enjoy my cricket. Test cricket is amazing, when you’re having a good day, its better than any format by far and its more rewarding and you feel like you’ve really earned it”. Ali further added “I’ve enjoyed Test cricket but that intensity can be too much sometimes and I feel like I’ve done enough of it and I am happy and content with how I’ve done”.
Throughout his career, Moeen has achieved some fantastic records while playing for England. In the 2014 and the 2018 home series against India, he bamboozled the best of Indian batters. The 2017 series against South Africa, he came good with both bat and the ball and the 2018 tour to Sri Lanka are some of the highlights of his career.
Though Moeen was good with the ball, his batting deteriorated after a sensational 2016. He had scored over 1000 runs and bagged 30+ wickets that year. His inconsistency with the bat later on meant he was in and out of the playing XI. In the year 2017, Moeen averaged 27.6 with bat in 11 matches, but had 33 wickets. The following year, his batting average dipped to 19.1 but he was still he among wickets (32). In the year 2019, his batting average plummeted to 10 in five matches. There on, the route became tough for Moeen.
Irrespective of his batting lows in recent times, Moeen had been a terrific with the ball for England. His stint 2016 went down as one of his best. Here are some of his interesting records and moments from his Test career:
Only the third all-rounder for England to five 100s and five 5-wicket hauls
In his Test career, Moeen has picked up 195 wickets with five 5-wicket hauls at an average of 36.7. With the bat, he has scored close to 3000 runs at an average of 28.3 with five centuries. He is one among the three England all-rounders who have had five or more centuries and five or more 5-wicket hauls in Tests.
A year that introduced Moeen as an all-rounder
Moeen was trying make a name for himself in his early years (2014 and 2015). In the year 2016, he found his footing by scoring 1078 runs at an average of 46.9 with four centuries and 37 wickets. Only three all-rounders in Test cricket have achieved this feat of 1000 runs and 30 wickets in a calendar year and Moeen was one among them in 2016. He is the only spinner to achieve the feat.
Only the fifth bowler to score 250+ runs and bag 20 wickets in a series
In a home series against South Africa in 2017, the off-spinner achieved yet another milestone. His prolific performance enabled him to become only the fifth spinner to score 250+ runs and scalp 20 wickets in a series. The 34-year old had amassed 252 runs, picked up 25 wickets in four Tests, and was adjudged the Player of the Series. India’s Ravichandran Ashwin achieved this feat in a home series against England in 2016 by scoring 306 runs and 28 wickets against England in 2016.
Only England spinner to score 250+ runs and bag 25+ wickets in a calendar year at home
A scintillating performance with both bat and ball in the series against South Africa in 2017, was a break out for Moeen. In the two home series Moeen played 2017, against South Africa and West Indies, he amassed 361 runs at an average of 32.8 and picked up 30 wickets. No other spin-bowling all-rounder from England had racked up as many runs and wickets in a calendar year as Moeen had in the 2017 home series.
England’s third highest wicket-taking spinner
In 64 Test matches and 112 innings, Moeen has been an integral part of the squad and has often weaved his magic with the ball to script some famous wins for the England team. With 195 wickets, he is third in the list of most wickets for England’s spinners behind Graeme Swann's 255 scalps. Derek Underwood, one of England's greatest left-arm spinners, leads the chart with 297 wickets in 151 innings.
Third best strike rate among England spinners
With a strike rate of 60.7, the off-spinner ranks third in the list of England spinners who have played 25-plus matches and picked up 50-plus wickets. Johnny Briggs, the left-arm spinner, is on top of the table with a strike rate of 45.1, followed by Swann with 60.1.
Fourth best strike rate among spinners with 10+ matches at home
In conditions that aren't favoring for the spinners as well, he has managed to excel. Among England spinners who have played 10-plus matches and picked up 25-plus wickets at home, Moeen's strike rate of 54 is the fourth best. It certainly speaks volumes of his success at home. Briggs once again leads the table with a strike rate of 37.5, followed by Walter Robins and Wilfred Rhodes with 47.8 and 47.9 respectively.
Fourth highest score at number seven for England
In the second Test against Sri Lanka at Chester-Le-Street, Moeen smashed an unbeaten 155 that laid the foundation for a mammoth total of 498 runs in the first innings by England. Interestingly, this knock was the fourth-highest runs scored by an England batter at number seven. K. S. Ranjitsinhji was the first player to achieve this feat back in 1897 against Australia in Sydney.