After a disappointing display over the winter for England's Test side, Moeen Ali was dropped for the last series against New Zealand.
However, the all-rounder felt that he 'probably should've been dropped from the Test side earlier.'
When England captain Joe Root announced that Ali would be dropped from the side for the first time in 50 consecutive appearances, surprisingly it was greeted without any frustration from the spinner.
“When I didn’t play the last Test in New Zealand it was a relief.” said Moeen at the Taj hotel in Mumbai.
Ali is currently representing Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2018 IPL after he was bought for almost £190,000, however, he is yet to start a match for RCB in this year's tournament.
“I could have been dropped three Tests earlier – I probably should have been – but Joe said he sees me as a match-winner and, with 50 matches of experience, they wanted to give me a longer run," Ali added.
"It was almost like: ‘Right, now I can actually work on my game and mentally have a break from the pressure of playing.’ When it’s my time again, I will be ready.”
A year ago, Ali was one of the superstars of the English Test team, both with the ball and the bat, scoring 252 runs and taking 25 wickets in the dominant series against South Africa.
However, The Ashes were completely different, as he averaged just 19 with the bat and lacked the same impact with the ball, as England were beaten 4-0 on Australian turf.
“You do your best, but I think I’m going to try and get back in as a batsman first, spinner second. The problem is, because I have played more than others – say if Jack Leach is in the same team, or Liam Dawson or Adil Rashid before – I’ll still get seen as the senior spinner because I’m more experienced.”
Despite a long, tough winter for England and Moeen Ali in particular, there is still no doubt that he will eventually get back to his scintillating best again which will be vital for England's Test team.