Probe into claims Aussie re­li­giously sledged Moeen Ali

Sunday Mail - - SPORT -

CRICKET Aus­tralia will in­ves­ti­gate claims from Eng­land all­rounder Moeen Ali that he was sledged on the ba­sis of his re­li­gion and ap­pear­ance dur­ing his Ashes de­but in 2015.

Although the se­ries opener in Cardiff was a per­sonal triumph, Ali’s role in Eng­land’s win was tar­nished by an al­leged on-field ex­change with an Aus­tralian player.

Moeen, who scored 77 runs in the first in­nings and took five wick­ets in the match, said the op­po­nent called him “Osama”, a ref­er­ence to Mus­lim ter­ror­ist Osama bin Laden.

Writ­ing in his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, Moeen said: “It was a great first Ashes Test in terms of my per­sonal per­for­mance, how­ever, there was one in­ci­dent which had dis­tracted me.

“An Aus­tralian player 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.” The player in­volved de­nied mak­ing the slur when con­fronted.

“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’.

“I was amused when I heard that, for there is a world of dif­fer­ence be­tween the words ‘Osama’ and ‘part-timer’.

Cricket Aus­tralia said it is tak­ing Moeen’s claims “very se­ri­ously”. “Re­marks of this na­ture are un­ac­cept­able and have no place in our sport, or in so­ci­ety,” a CA spokesman said on the web­site.

“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 re­vealed that af­ter the se­ries, dur­ing which the Aus­tralia team “re­fused to talk to or even ac­knowl­edge us”, he spoke to the player.

“He came up to me and said, ‘I know what you thought I said, but I didn’t say that. I’ve got Mus­lim friends and some of my best friends are Mus­lims’. I did not ar­gue with him. But I was so clear that is what he said. Why should I in­vent it out of the blue?”

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