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Moeen targets second Test comeback in West Indies

Moeen Ali is on track to return to the England side in time to play the second Test of the series against West Indies in Grenada.

George Dobell
George Dobell
02-Apr-2015
Moeen Ali's century was only the second by an England batsman in ODIs in New Zealand, England v Scotland, World Cup 2015, Group A, Christchurch, February 23, 2015

Moeen Ali made England's highest score at the World Cup  •  Getty Images

Moeen Ali is on track to return to the England side in time to play the second Test of the series against West Indies in Grenada.
Moeen, who established himself as England's first choice spinner during the Test series against India last year, was not named in the original squad for the series in the Caribbean after sustaining a side strain during the World Cup defeat to Bangladesh in Sydney.
But the England management always hoped that he would be able to join up with the squad if he recovered in time for a series in which spin is anticipated to play a key role. For the first two Tests, in particular, the pitches are expected to be slow and provide more assistance for spinners than seamers.
In Moeen's absence, the England selectors named offspinner James Tredwell, who was unable to maintain a place in the Kent Championship side last season, and the uncapped Yorkshire legspinner, Adil Rashid, as the two specialist slow bowlers in the squad.
But now it appears Moeen should be able to return earlier than anticipated after he resumed training with Worcestershire. He has already begun net practise as a batsman and, while he has yet to bowl, intends to play a two-day warm-up match against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road on April 7-8 and play a full part with bat and ball in Worcestershire's opening Championship game of the season against Yorkshire at New Road from April 12.
If he comes through that unscathed, he hopes to fly to the Caribbean in time to be considered for a place in the side for the second Test starting on April 21. The final Test of the series begins in Barbados on May 1.
"I'm hoping to play that game against Yorkshire, prove my fitness and fly immediately afterwards," Moeen told ESPNcricinfo.
Moeen was the most economical of England's regular bowlers in the World Cup and also made the side's highest score of the tournament, 128 against Scotland.
The recovery of Warwickshire's Chris Woakes is also ahead of schedule following injury in the same World Cup match. Woakes was diagnosed with a stress reaction in the left foot, but could return to the Championship side before the end of the month. He is expected to be available for selection ahead of the series against New Zealand starting at Lord's on May 21.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo