England allrounder Moeen Ali claimed that an Australian player made racial slurs against him during the 2015 Ashes series in England. The 31-year-old, who spoke about the racial abuse he received from Australian supporters during the 2017 Ashes series in December, wrote about the incident in his autobiography which is set to be published later this month, as per a report in Telegraph. Ali wrote 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. 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,” he wrote.
The cricketer further added that he discussed the issue with a couple of members from the staff. “I told a couple of the guys what the player had said to me and I think Trevor Bayliss [the England coach] 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 must say I was amused when I heard that, obviously I had to take the player’s word for it, though for the rest of the match I was angry,” he wrote.
The left-handed batsman further added that the Australian players were rude and disrespectful. “The first game I ever played against them, in Sydney, just before the 2015 World Cup, they were not just going hard at you, they were almost abusing you. That was the first time it hit me. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, but the more I played against them they were just as bad, the Ashes here (in 2015) they were worse actually. Not intimidating, just rude. Individually they are fine and the Aussies we’ve had at Worcester have been fantastic lovely guys,” he wrote.
Ali had a tough time in Australia last winter where he scored just 179 runs at an average of 19.88. The right-arm off-break bowler revealed that he found it hard to focus amid the constant ‘chirping’. “I found it very difficult in Australia to switch off. It was my first Ashes tour and I was desperate to do well and was really looking forward to it. I worked so hard on the short ball before the series began, maybe too hard,” he revealed.
“Then (Nathan) Lyon kept getting me out. I found that very hard to deal with. I never thought that I was a poor player of spin but I really struggled against him. I wasn’t getting any wickets either. Things just got tougher and tougher. I expected Australia to be quite rough, but not as bad as this. I hadn’t heard such comments for a long time. I got some of this abuse even in the practice games,” he added.
Cricket Australia to probe ‘Osama’ sledge
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…” he added.
(With inputs from Reuters)