England all-rounder Moeen Ali is to leave Worcestershire to return to Warwickshire when his Pears contract expires at the end of the season.
Birmingham-born Moeen, 35, who was 19 when he left the Bears in 2006, captained Worcestershire to victory in the T20 Blast at Edgbaston in 2018.
He had also been linked with a move to Yorkshire, as well as Warwickshire.
But he turned down “a very attractive long deal” at Worcester to sign a three-year white-ball Bears contract.
Negotiations with Moeen, who was on a five-year deal at New Road, had continued over the weekend into Monday. But, although Yorkshire also made an offer, it ended up being a straight choice between staying at New Road or going back to his native Birmingham.
“I want to be in a side that’s challenging and doing well,” said Moeen on one of his recent appearances on BBC Test Match Special.
Moeen has played just seven of Worcestershire’s 14 T20 group games this season, scoring only 105 runs, and has not played a County Championship game since September 2019 or a List A game for the Pears since June 2018.
|First-class matches||114 games||7,368 runs (average 41.16)||153 wickets|
|List A matches||102 games||2,988 (av 30.80)||67 wkts (econ rate 5.65)|
|T20 matches||108 games||2,802 runs (av 28.02)||82 wkts (econ rate 7.35)|
Although he has been away for 15 years, Moeen has always enjoyed batting at Edgbaston.
He has hit two centuries and a half-century in six List A meetings with Warwickshire in Birmingham, and hit his first T20 ton at Edgbaston to beat the Bears in the final group game in 2018 and inspire Worcestershire to their first one-day knockout trophy success in 24 years.
Last season he also led Birmingham Phoenix to the inaugural men’s Hundred final.
After coming through the youth ranks at Edgbaston, Moeen had played just seven first-class and nine List A matches for Warwickshire when he left for New Road, where his elder brother Kadeer and cousin Kabir had both started their careers.
But his eye-catching success with Worcestershire eventually earned him his chance with England in 2014. He made his one-day international debut in February that year and his T20 debut in March on the winter tour of the Caribbean, followed by his Test debut in June.
He has since gone on to make 2,914 runs and take 195 wickets in 64 Tests, as well as hitting 1,919 runs and taking 90 wickets in 115 ODI games and 637 runs and 33 wickets in 49 T20Is.
Although he did not play in the final, he was also part of England’s 2019 World Cup-winning squad.
Moeen retired from Test cricket last year after returning from a two-year exile but has twice told BBC Sport about his enduring love for Test cricket.
He has spoken to new England Test head coach Brendon McCullum and has said “the door is open” to a possible red-ball comeback.
As well as leading Worcestershire to successive T20 Blast finals, winning the trophy in 2018 and finishing runners-up in 2019, Moeen has become an in-demand player in short-form tournaments around the world.
He has played in the Bangladesh Premier League, the Mzansi Super League in South Africa and the Pakistan Super League.
Moeen has also had two stints in the Indian Premier League, first with Royal Challengers Bangalore, then Chennai Super Kings, with whom he became the first English player to play in an IPL final-winning team in 2021, prior to returning to England last summer for the Hundred, international duty and four T20 games with Worcestershire.