Moeen Ali says he “finally feels back” for England after his man-of-the-match performance in the second Twenty20 against South Africa.
Moeen, 32, hit an 11-ball 39 to help England post 204 before they won by two runs on the final ball.
The all-rounder, playing international cricket for the first time since a six-month absence, said: “It was amazing to contribute and finally feel like I am back for England.
“I will not take it for granted.”
- England beat South Africa by two runs in thriller
After a poor run of form, Moeen was dropped for the second Ashes Test in August and soon after chose to take a break from international cricket.
The matches on the white-ball leg of the tour to South Africa have been his first for England since the break, although he remains unavailable for selection for the upcoming Test series in Sri Lanka.
Moeen, who has played 60 Tests, 102 one-day internationals and 27 T20s for England, said he “completely lost” his hunger for the game but now feels he is “getting there” and hopes to return to the Test side in the summer.
“I am going to give myself a bit more time,” he told the Test Match Special podcast. “I want to make sure when I come back I am ready and fresh.
“I want to keep enjoying my cricket and get that hunger back because I feel I lost that completely.
“I had no interest in my batting and bowling and when you are in that situation there is no point playing.
“I definitely feel like I am getting there and not far [away]. I want to give myself extra time and know when I come back I will have to fight for my place.”
- I was always one of the first to get the blame – Moeen
England play West Indies and Pakistan at home this summer and have a five-Test series against world number one side India next winter.
“I do want to be part of that (India) for sure,” said Moeen, who is England’s fourth highest wicket-taking spinner in Tests. “I still have huge ambitions for Test cricket.
“It is still the best form of the game and the hardest. I want prove to myself and to other people that I am not a bad Test player.”