Cricket Australia has reacted to the allegations levelled by England all-rounder Moeen Ali against an Australian player for calling him “Osama” during the 2015 Ashes, saying they will follow up with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Ali, who is of Islamic faith, made the claim in his soon-to-be-released autobiography, from which an excerpt appeared in UK newspaper The Times. Ali has claimed that the incident took place during the first Test at Cardiff in 2015, in which he scored 77 runs in the first innings and took 5 wickets to help England to a 169-run win.
“It was a great first Ashes Test in terms of my personal performance,” he recalls in the book, “however there was one incident which had distracted me. An Australian player had turned to me on the field and said, ‘Take that, Osama’ [a reference to Islamic terrorist Osama Bin Laden]. I could not believe what I had heard. I remember going really red. I have never been so angry on a cricket field.”
The 31-year-old claims he discussed the incident with several of his team-mates and believed that England coach Trevor Bayliss raised it with then Australian coach Darren Lehmann.”The player denied making the remark, claiming he had said: “Take that, you part-timer.” The all-rounder said he was amused. “I had to take the player’s word for it, though for the rest of the match I was angry.”
Ali also spoke to the player at the end of the series, which England won 3-2, and his opponent denied saying “Osama” and claimed that some of his best friends were Muslim.
Reacted to the allegations, a Cricket Australia spokesperson said, “Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and have no place in our sport, or in society. We have a clear set of values and behaviours that comes with representing our country.”
“We take this matter very seriously, and are following up with the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) as a matter of urgency to seek further clarification around the alleged incident,” he added.