London: England skipper Joe Root has apologised to Moeen Ali for saying that the all-rounder has "chosen" to go home after the second Test though it was already agreed upon as part of the national team's rotation policy, according to reports.
After taking eight wickets and top-scoring with an 18-ball 43 in England's second innings on Tuesday in the second Test against India in Chennai, his first match since Ashes 2019, Ali chose to stick to the original plan and left for the United Kingdom for a 10-day break.
According to a report in 'Mirror' newspaper, Root apologised to Ali at the team hotel for saying that "he has chosen" to go home.
A few other British newspapers also reported on similar lines.
Following a 317-run loss to India in Chennai on Tuesday, Root had said: "Moeen has chosen to go home. It's obviously been a very tricky tour for him. As we mentioned at the start (of the winter), if players feel like they need to get out of the bubble, then that's been an option. It is really important that we stand by that.
"With Moeen it wasn't more asking if he wanted to stay, it was a decision he had chosen. Of course we wanted as many players available for as long as possible, but you also want them to be very comfortable here."
Jos Buttler, an all-format player like Ali, went home after the first Test and will be back in India for the tour's limited overs leg. Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer were rested for the recent Test series in Sri Lanka.
There was an intense debate around Jonny Bairstow's unavailability for the first two Tests in India but he too was rested after the Sri Lanka tour as the ECB has a clear rotation policy in place with cricketers having to spend months in a bio-bubble due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bairstow is in India now for the last two Tests and the white-ball leg of the tour.
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The tourists have sustained heavy defeats in the past two matches — by 317 runs in Chennai and 10 wickets in a chastening two-day finish in Ahmedabad — but can still draw the series 2-2.
Senior wicketkeeper batsman Jonny Bairstow has also returned to the squad and it remains to be seen whether they can keep in-form Ben Foakes out or play both of them.
Former Australia captain Chappell said it was poor defence which led to England's collapse in the third Test against India.