England captain Joe Root has reportedly apologised in private to his teammate Moeen Ali following a press conference fiasco that sparked controversy following the conclusion of the 2nd Test vs India in Chennai. Root told reporters that Moeen has ‘chosen’ to go home following visiting team’s crushing 317-run defeat on Tuesday.

However, the allrounder’s decision was a pre-determined one as part of England cricket team’s rest and rotation policy considering the punishing schedule they have subjected themselves in order to make up for the time lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. Moeen has been living in different bio-secure bubbles away from his family for some time now like his other teammates and had recently contracted the deadly virus during Sri Lanka tour as well.

While other players including Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow has in the past similarly missed matches due to the new policy, Root’s use of the term ‘chosen’ has potentially left Moeen to criticism that he has left his team in the lurch when they needed him.

However, as per several media reports, Root has spoken to Moeen in private and acknowledged his mistake.

“Moeen has chosen to go home,” Root had said on Tuesday. “It’s obviously been a very tricky tour for him. “Of course we wanted as many players available for as long as possible, but you also want them to be very comfortable here. I think we’ve come to a point where he wants to get out of the bubble. That’s absolutely fair enough. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision for him, but it’s one we completely respect and understand.”

Meanwhile, India outclassed England on a spin-friendly surface for a series-levelling win, an experience Root termed as ‘education’. “It’s a bit of an education. We’ve got to quickly learn from this because sometimes these are the conditions that you come up against,” Root explained.

However, the Englishman has dismissed notions that England’s chances are done and dusted following the thrashing. “As I said after the last game it’s really important that we stay level. We don’t get too far above our station when we win and we don’t see it as doom and gloom when we have tough weeks like we have this time round,” he said.

“We’ve played some really good cricket over the recent past, in challenging conditions, very foreign conditions, and we’ve been, let’s be honest, outplayed in all three departments this week. We look at how they’ve gone about things on a surface that has spun a huge amount — probably bounced more than we anticipate as well but take that forward, take it as a learning and make sure that we’re better for it next time,” he added.

The remaining two Tests of the four-match series will be played in Ahmedabad starting February 24.