Moeen Ali will join an England Lions training camp in Loughborough this week ahead of their upcoming tour to Australia.
Moeen, the offspinning allrounder whose most recent international appearance came in last summer’s first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, declared himself unavailable for the ongoing Test series in South Africa, writing in his Guardian column that he was hoping to “freshen up” while away from the side.
He is expected to remain absent for the two-Test series in Sri Lanka this March, having signalled his intention to “see out” his contract with Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League, but his presence at Lions training suggests that his relationship with the ECB remains very healthy.
He will travel to South Africa for the white-ball leg of England’s tour at the end of the month, having been named in both the ODI and T20I squads.
Moeen will be joined at the Lions camp by Tim Bresnan, who played 23 Tests and 119 white-ball internationals for England between 2006 and 2015, with the pair asked to share their respective experiences of playing in Australia and adjusting to local conditions.
“I’d like to thank Tim and Moeen for their time this week at the camp,” ECB performance director Mo Bobat said. “I’m sure the information and experience they can impart will be very useful to many members of our squad as they look to hone their games to Australian conditions.”
The ECB has also confirmed that Lewis Gregory, the Somerset allrounder, will captain the Lions for both the 50-over and four-day legs of their tour, which starts later this month.
Gregory, who made his international debut during England’s T20I series in New Zealand in November, is Somerset’s T20 Blast captain, and has previously captained the Lions in white-ball cricket against Pakistan A last winter and in red-ball cricket against Australia A during the 2019 summer.
Tom Abell, his county team-mate, is vice-captain for the white-ball series, while Keaton Jennings – who is in line for a call-up to England’s Test squad for their tour of Sri Lanka – will be Gregory’s deputy in the four-day games.
Gregory said: “It’s an honour to be chosen to captain the Lions again and I’m looking forward to what will be a great challenge in Australia. I can’t wait to lead the team out at the iconic MCG against Australia A and try to lay a foundation for future England success Down Under across the whole tour.
“I’m fortunate to have some good experience around me, including Tom and Keaton – my vice-captains. It’s important to have reliable people to turn to for advice, as well as players who have experience of playing in Australian conditions, such as Mason Crane, Craig Overton and Richard Gleeson.
“It promises to be a tough but rewarding tour and one that will help all of us improve our games in unfamiliar conditions.”
Bobat added: “Lewis was an obvious choice to captain the Lions in Australia and I’m confident he’ll bring out the best in our two squads. His previous experience leading the Lions shows that he commands the respect of his team-mates. Tom and Keaton will provide great support in the white and red-ball formats respectively.”
Source: ESPN Crickinfo