England all-rounder Moeen Ali will take a “short break” from cricket after being dropped from the squad to face Australia in the second Ashes Test this week.
The 32-year-old was axed after scoring nought and four in England’s first Test defeat at Edgbaston.
He also struggled with his off-spin, taking three wickets for 172 runs across Australia’s two innings, failing to take advantage of a pitch that ought to have suited him.
Moeen, who was a member of England’s World Cup-winning squad, has been replaced by Somerset left-arm spinner Jack Leach for the Lord’s Test, with his county Worcestershire revealing he will now take a “short break from action”.
“Mo is spending a little time away from the middle recharging his batteries and putting in some quality practice time which he feels he needs, and we completely respect,” Worcestershire first-team coach Alex Gidman told the club’s website on Tuesday.
“He has had an intense schedule of international cricket involving the ICC World Cup and the start of the Ashes.
“Mo loves playing for Worcestershire and he gives a lift to everyone in the dressing room when he comes back and plays for us. We look forward to when he returns soon.”
Moeen is the world’s leading Test wicket-taker over the past 12 months, with 48 scalps in 10 matches at an average of 25.27.
However, he has struggled for form in recent outings and was dropped during the World Cup over concerns about his batting.
In Tests, he has registered seven single-figure scores in his past nine innings, with his career average dipping below 30.
England captain Joe Root said Moeen, a veteran of 60 Tests, could regain his place.
“As he proved last summer, coming into that India series having a massive influence on it, there’s no reason why he can’t go back and do the same again, and try and force his way back into the squad,” Root told reporters at Lord’s on Tuesday before Moeen’s break was announced.
“You know, he’s been a big part of English cricket, he’s done some fantastic things in a Test shirt. And it’s certainly not the last we’ll see of him, he’s a fine character, a great man and gives so much to this team.
“I’m sure that it won’t be long until you see him back involved.”