Moeen Ali sympathizes with youngsters of all shapes and sizes, such as Harry Brook, who may have to choose when to play for England due to the demands of the match.
The frequent debate about England’s congested schedule is not a new development, but the issue has been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic and the proliferation of franchise T20 leagues.
England’s schedule for the next four years includes a bilateral all-format competition against South Africa in 2026/27 as the Test and limited-overs formats continue to diverge.
The overlapping demands require separate red- and white-ball teams and Wednesday’s first ODI in Bangladesh comes just over 24 hours after a Test series in New Zealand ends.
While Brook rides high in the Test squad and was part of England’s T20 World Cup-winning squad, Moeen believes the schedule may deprive the 24-year-old of becoming a full-fledged all-format star.
“It’s wrong for the younger players who want to play in all formats and play as many games as they can for England,” Moeen said. “It’s something to be really proud of, I guess, when you’re done.
“I have more than 100 ODIs and 60 Tests and that means I feel I have played a lot for England. But Brooky could be 28 or 29 and not have played much white-ball cricket or one of the formats.
“It’s obviously difficult. Even if there is a window and you facilitate international cricket to help the players, there will just be more franchise (cricket). Someone will find another league and fill that void. Maybe it’s better to stay as it is now.”
Tests and T20s have been prioritized over the past two years, meaning the ODI format has been neglected, with only sporadic appearances from those who helped England win the 2019 World Cup.
England are set to defend their crown in India later this year in conditions that may not be too dissimilar to those they face in three matches against Bangladesh over the next few days.
But this series is England’s last in form until September and the lack of games for the likes of Joe Root – a first-choice who has played just 15 ODIs since the 2019 World Cup final – could confound selection matters .
“We know Rooty will be at number three, but he hasn’t played for a while,” Moeen said. “I’m sure he’s looking forward to playing but he’s probably not going to get many games before the World Cup now.
“He’ll get some, I’m sure (in September), but it’s not easy for the captain more than anything to get other players and make sure they’re ready, just in case. If the other kids are doing well, it’s also a big headache.”
Moeen has helped England to glory in both limited-overs World Cups and his predominantly economical spin bowling and aggressive middle-order batting could come to the fore in India in the autumn.
Moeen will be 36 by then, but despite calling time on his first-class career, he has no intention of retiring anytime soon after balancing his international commitments with multiple franchise contracts.
“I’m 35 and I’m trying to make the most of my cricket career and the ability to keep playing – I want to play as long as I can and hopefully retire when I literally can’t play anymore,” he said. he said.
“I feel like I’m really progressing well at the moment. There was a period a few years ago when I wasn’t moving very well and I thought, “I better start training a bit more”. I started doing a bit more training – just keeping a bit in shape. Before that I didn’t do much.
“I know there will come a day when I can’t play cricket anymore, so I’m trying to make the most of it.”