Moeen Ali and Alastair Cook discuss viral row as duo are reunited on BBC commentary

Former England teammates Sir Alastair Cook and Moeen Ali shared an awkward exchange while working on BT Sport’s coverage of the Ashes over the winter.

During the fourth Test, Moeen began comparing Joe Root’s captaincy to Cook’s, having played under both skippers. “Rooty has more of an emotional attachment with the players, he spends more time with the players,” he said.

Cook then replied: “Are you just criticising my captaincy?”. “I am a little bit, yeah,” responded Moeen.

“They’re both very different, I did do better with the bat under Cooky but with the ball I was better with Rooty.” The exchange went viral on social media and the pair were quick to address it when they were reunited on commentary for BBC Test Match Special during the second Test between England and New Zealand and Trent Bridge.

Cook began: “I was coming back from a holiday, walked straight into the studio at midnight to be met by a smiling Mo as he always is. Half an hour or so into the shift, he basically told everyone who was watching and listening that I wasn’t a very good captain and wouldn’t be a very good coach.”

However, Moeen defended himself, insisting: “It was a little bit out of context. I was saying basically that Rooty has a lot more empathy for his players than you did.

“I never mentioned once that you were not a good captain and then you took it to heart and then it all went viral.” Moeen played under Cook in 37 of his 64 Test matches and became England’s third-highest wicket-taking spinner before retiring from the format in 2021.

However, he has admitted he would be open to a comeback following talks with new Test coach Brendon McCullum. “To be honest, I’d love to play under him and Stokesy,” he said.

“Both of them have that character about them. They’re very aggressive. I think I would suit their cricket a bit more and I think they feel I would suit them as well.”

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