England captain said that Moeen had ‘chosen’ to leave India tour
Root, the England captain, appeared to suggest Moeen had unilaterally decided to leave the tour with two Tests of the series remaining.
“Moeen has chosen to go home,” Root said at the time. “It’s obviously been a very tricky tour for him. As mentioned at the start, if players feel like they need to get out of the bubble, then that’s been an option. With Moeen it wasn’t more asking if he wanted to stay, it was a decision he had chosen.”
In truth, Moeen’s break from the tour had been arranged by the selectors several weeks previously and was consistent with the team management’s policy of giving all their all-format players a break from the bio-bubble at some stage on the trip. Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood have all had similar breaks.
Root’s comments sparked something of a backlash across the media. Although some defended Moeen, others latched onto the words to express their dissatisfaction on the incorrect assumption that he had left the tour on something of a whim having been recalled just a week previously.
Realising he had expressed himself somewhat clumsily, Root sought out Moeen when the team returned to the hotel after the game on Tuesday. He explained that he had not expressed himself clearly and reiterated Moeen’s value to the team. He also clarified his support for the rotation policy and his appreciation of the need for players to balance their family lives alongside their professional commitments.
Moeen is understood to have accepted the apology and departs the tour on good terms with the team, its captain and coaches. He returns to India at the end of the month as part of England’s T20I squad and retains hopes of being picked up in the IPL auction.
A further clarification on the matter is anticipated from the England team management later on Wednesday.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo