Moeen Ali replaced injured spinner Jack Leach in England’s Ashe’s lineup on Wednesday.
After talking to England captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, 35-year-old Ali overturned his 2021 retirement from test cricket.
After Leach withdrew from the 16-player team on Sunday with a lower back stress fracture, Ali was added to the first two Ashes tests. Leach missed the entire series.
Ali has 2,914 runs and 195 wickets in 64 tests.
“We approached Mo early this week about returning to test cricket,” England Cricket managing director Rob Key said. After two days to ponder, Mo is thrilled to join the group and play test cricket again. His expertise and versatility will help our Ashes campaign.”
On Day 3 of the first test at Edgbaston, Warwickshire’s spinning allrounder turns 36.
Ali may play at No. 8 to offer England a deep batting lineup after Jonny Bairstow returned from a fractured leg.
Ali was picked over other spin possibilities including 18-year-old Rehan Ahmed, who became England’s youngest test player in Karachi in December, and Will Jacks.
After initially agreeing to play test cricket on the Pakistan tour, Ali chose limited-overs cricket.
“I want to enjoy my cricket,” Ali declared at the time. “That career chapter is over.” Playing 64 England tests was a privilege and a dream.”
Stokes and McCullum’s aggressive, proactive style may have persuaded Ali to play test cricket for England again.