England coach Silverwood says sorry for leaving Moeen in lurch


England coach Chris Silverwood has apologised after Moeen Ali’s departure from the bio-bubble led to a controversy as it appeared that he was doing it on his own volition and not as per the plan of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“First of all, we’re sorry the impression we gave yesterday was Moeen’s been treated different to other people,” Silverwood said on Wednesday while speaking to the media.

“He isn’t. I can guarantee you that. The decision for him to go home was ours as it was with (Jos) Buttler, Sam (Curran), (Jonny) Bairstow and (Mark) Wood, to be honest. So, we’re happy to own that decision. We touched base with Mo (Moeen Ali) last night as did Joe and he was fine. He understands we’ve got his best interests at heart and we’re trying to look after him just like all the other players in the strange times we’re in,” added Silverwood.

A report in ESPNcricinfo.com on Tuesday revealed that Moeen, who tested positive for Covid-19 in Sri Lanka and missed the series there due to quarantine, was initially allowed to leave India for home after two Tests.

However, on Monday, he was asked by national selector Ed Smith to stay back for the remaining two Tests. Moeen, who has to return to India in February-end after a week with the family to join the team for the limited-overs leg of the tour, refused to change the plan, the report added.

“It was a unique situation with Moeen, the fact that he had spent so long in isolation getting Covid out in Sri Lanka and how he’d just broken back into the team,” Silverwood added.

“The question was posed to him. We try and work as closely as we can with players to make sure they get the best opportunities as well as looking after them so it was asked. But ultimately, we felt it was the right decision for him to go home.”