Rishi Sunak calls for Moeen Ali 'SOS' to boost England's Ashes chances

The PM has urged Moeen Ali to come out of retirement from test cricket to help boost England's Ashes chances. Credit: PA

The prime minister has urged cricketer Moeen Ali to come out of retirement from test cricket and replace Jack Leach in the Ashes next week to help boost England’s chances.

Rishi Sunak suggested an “SOS” be sent to the spin-bowler after admitting he was worrying about who would replace Leach, after he was ruled out with a lower-back stress fracture.

Ali, 35, has been asked to play - despite ending his 64-cap Test career in 2021 - and has said he will make the decision by Wednesday.

If Ali decides not to play the first match next week - in his home ground of Edgbaston - he suggested 18-year-old Rehan Ahmed after “that one unbelievable game” against Pakistan in December.

Mr Sunak made the comments when asked why he hadn’t wanted to throw the first pitch in a baseball game during his trip to the US. The PM said he was never due to do that - saying that a great UK veteran would do it instead, Stuart Taylor who is CEO of the Allied Forces Association.

Then he added: “As you guys know, my sport is more cricket than baseball in any case. When it comes to pitching/bowling, I’m more focused on who’s going to replace Jack Leach for the Ashes, which is more the concerning issue on my mind at the moment.”

Asked who should replace Leach, he said: “That’s tough. Either the SOS for Moeen Ali, or indeed that 18-year-old, Rehan Ahmed, who had that one unbelievable game.”

He said he was “very confident” about the Ashes - adding that the England bowlers “managed to get me bowled out in the garden at Downing Street, so they’re in good nick”

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