SYDNEY – Australia cricket governing body has launched an investigation into an incident in which England all-rounder Moeen Ali says he was called “Osama” by an unnamed Australian player.
“It was a great first Ashes Test in terms of my personal performance,” said Moeen, who scored 77 and took five wickets in what was his first Ashes match in 2015, The Guardian reported.
“However there was one incident which had distracted me. An Australian player had turned to me on the field and said, ‘Take that, Osama’.
“I could not believe what I had heard. I remember going really red. I have never been so angry on a cricket field.”
Moeen is an English international cricketer who joined England national team in 2017.
Though he had a terrible 2017-18 Ashes in Australia, Moeen returned to form to help England beat India 4-1 in the recent test series.
The incident, which was mentioned in Moeen’s autobiography, was rejected by Cricket Australia as “unacceptable.”
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 behaviors 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.”
Moeen claims he spoke about the slur to his England coach, Trevor Bayliss, who raised it with the Australia coach, Darren Lehmann. Lehmann then sought an explanation from the player, who denied making the comment.
“Lehmann asked the player, ‘Did you call Moeen ‘Osama’?’ He denied it, saying, “No, I said, ‘Take that, you part-timer.’
“I must say I was amused when I heard that for there is a world of difference between the words ‘Osama’ and ‘part-timer’,” Moeen writes. “Although I couldn’t have mistaken ‘part-timer’ for ‘Osama’, obviously I had to take the player’s word for it, though for the rest of the match I was angry.”
Moeen said the player approached him at the end of the series, at which point he denied making the comment and claimed: “some of my best friends are Muslim”.
“I did not argue with him,” writes Moeen.
“But I was so clear that is what he said. Why should I invent it out of the blue? I’ve got nothing against him. I have never had any fights with him before. I did not even know the guy. And I thought his denial was a standard response.”