SYDNEY – Cricket Australia are to seek clarification from their English counterparts about an incident in which England all-rounder Moeen Ali says he was called “Osama” by an Australian player during an Ashes Test in 2015.
Moeen, who is a Muslim, made the allegation in his autobiography, which is being serialised in The Times newspaper, saying the apparent reference to Islamist militant Osama bin Laden came during his Ashes debut in Cardiff.
“An Australian player... turned to me on the field and said, ‘Take that, Osama’,” he recalled. “I could not believe what I had heard. I remember going really red. I have never been so angry on a cricket field.
“I told a couple of the guys what the player had said to me, and I think (England coach) Trevor Bayliss must have raised it with Darren Lehmann, the Australians’ coach.
“Lehmann asked the player, ‘Did you call Moeen ‘Osama’?’. He denied it, saying, ‘No, I said: ‘Take that, you part-timer’.
“... obviously I had to take the player’s word for it, though for the rest of the match I was angry.”
Moeen, who scored 92 runs and took five wickets as England won the match on their way to series triumph, said he spoke to the Australian at the end of the series and received another denial that the player had used the word “Osama”.
A Cricket Australia official told the cricket.com.au website on Saturday that the body would seek “further clarification” from the England and Wales Cricket Board “as a matter of urgency”.
“Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and have no place in our sport, or in society,” the official said.
“We have a clear set of values and behaviours that comes with representing our country. We take this matter very seriously…”
Moeen, who endured a miserable 2017-18 Ashes series Down Under, said in another extract from the book that he had no sympathy for the three Australian cricketers banned earlier this year and found the whole team “rude”.
Australian captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft were banned for lengthy spells after a ball-tampering scandal during the Newlands Test against South Africa.Reuters