Moeen quit the international red-ball game almost two years ago but has agreed to return for the Australia series after fellow spin bowler Leach was ruled out with a stress fracture of the lower back.
The 35-year-old has been added to England’s squad for the first two Tests and now looks likely to play in the opening game at Edgbaston from Friday June 16 in what would be his first red-ball appearance since September 2021.
“We reached out to Mo (Moeen Ali) early this week about returning to Test cricket,” said Rob Key, managing director of England men’s cricket.
“Having had a couple of days to reflect, Mo is excited to join the squad and play Test cricket again. His vast experience, along with his all-round ability, will benefit our Ashes campaign.
Off-spinner Moeen has a poor Test record against Australia with the ball – his average of 64.65 in 11 matches versus the Baggy Greens is significantly higher than his career Test bowling average of 36.66.
However, he brings a total of 195 wickets and over 2,900 runs from 64 Tests to an England side aiming to win The Ashes for the first time since 2015.
Other options for England included 18-year-old leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed and off-spinning all-rounder Will Jacks, both of whom played in Pakistan over the winter, as well as left-arm spinner Liam Dawson, who last featured in Test cricket in 2017.