Joe Root will contact Moeen Ali in the next fortnight to establish whether the all-rounder feels ready to return to Test cricket when England tour South Africa next month.

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Joe Root faiths Moeen Ali will make England Test return in South Africa
Joe Root faiths Moeen Ali will make England Test return in South Africa

Moeen, announced he was taking a break from the longer format, having been dropped from the first XI after an undercooked showing in the Ashes series opener at Edgbaston.

Joe Root told: “I see Moeen as someone who can offer a huge amount to this team. He made a decision he wanted a bit of a break from Test cricket and sometimes you do need that, you need to freshen your mind up.’’

Moeen Ali, is presently playing in the T10 League in Abu Dhabi under Trevor Bayliss, the former England head coach, retained his white-ball contract.

Joe Root faiths Moeen Ali will make England Test return in South Africa
Joe Root faiths Moeen Ali will make England Test return in South Africa

Ed Smith, the national selector, imposed this break from the international limelight against Moeen’s personal preference, perhaps hoping to expedite his test return.

As well as a central dressing-room figure in recent times, Moeen had been the leading Test wicket-taker in the world in the year at Edgbaston.

It came after nearly five months of bowling exclusively with the white ball – bar 26 deliveries in the seam-dominated four-day Test against Ireland at Lord’s.

Jack Leach then removed his spot for the remainder of the Ashes series, picking up 12 wickets in four Tests.

Joe Root faiths Moeen Ali will make England Test return in South Africa
Joe Root faiths Moeen Ali will make England Test return in South Africa

England confident of Anderson returning for the South Africa tour after a calf problem, there would still be concerns over Leach coming in as high as No 8.

It is the spot he would need to occupy if Sam Curran, named as the third seamer for first Test against New Zealand, made way for Anderson.

England’s third successive overseas tour in March, to Sri Lanka. With doubts over Adil Rashid’s continuation in first-class cricket because of a chronic shoulder problem.

James Anderson has been working on his fitness in Spain with Mark Wood, who lost the back end of the home summer after tearing aside muscle during the World Cup final.

Joe Root faiths Moeen Ali will make England Test return in South Africa
Joe Root faiths Moeen Ali will make England Test return in South Africa

The pair are also due to take part in an England fast bowling camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa, before the Test series.

Anderson will be joined by Olly Stone, recovering from a stress fracture to the lower back, and Craig Overton, who played in the Old Trafford Ashes Test.

Jonny Bairstow, who has left the New Zealand tour, is also due to attend the camp as he looks to work on his red-ball batting before a possible Test comeback as a specialist batsman.

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