Moeen Ali: Worcestershire's England all-rounder to make County Championship return
England all-rounder Moeen Ali will play for Worcestershire in their County Championship away game starting on Sunday against Northamptonshire.
After Moeen was dropped by England for this week's second Ashes Test against Australia at Lord's, the Pears said he needed a short break from cricket.
But having been being unavailable for selection for two T20 Blast games this week, Moeen has now opted to return.
It will be his first Championship appearance since last September.
But he has invariably made himself available to play for Worcestershire when not needed by England in that time - and captained the county to their first T20 Blast title at Edgbaston 11 months ago.
Worcestershire's Championship game with Northants is followed by their final four T20 group games before the final three Championship fixtures in September.
England still have three Tests to come in the five-match Ashes series, which is due to finish on 16 September - four days before T20 Blast finals day, which is then followed by this season's final round of Championship fixtures.
Moeen gives us a lift - Gidman
"Moeen always gives the lads a lift when he walks through the dressing room door," said Worcestershire first team coach Alex Gidman.
"Obviously we all hope that Moeen is soon back playing for England for whom he has been an integral part of the team and produced many match-winning performances.
"But equally we are all always delighted to welcome him back to play for Worcestershire.
"Last summer his all-round performance in the Championship match at Scarborough was exceptional and helped him to return to the Test side. He then enjoyed great success against India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.
"But he was also a massive part of our Blast success, not only with his contributions with bat and ball but also as captain. Already this season his one appearance against Notts Outlaws (4-18) produced a sizeable impact."
Moeen struggled in this summer's first two Tests against Ireland and Australia, making just 13 runs in four innings. But he now has the chance to find his form at county level - and at the same time rejuvenate the Pears' flagging promotion prospects after eight games without a win.
They have slipped to ninth in the Division Two table - but, with still four games left, they are only 37 points shy of two of the three promotion places.