Moeen Ali claims Australian player referred to him as ‘Osama’
English all-rounder Moeen Ali has added fuel to the fire currently burning against the culture of Australian cricket, claiming in his soon to be published autobiography that an unnamed player called him ‘Osama’ in the 2015 Ashes series. The autobiography, which is set to be released later in September, is being previewed in English newspaper The Times, in which this section of the book was published.
According to Ali, during his first ever Ashes test - in Cardiff - an opposition player ‘turned to me 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.’
Reportedly, Ali told coach Trevor Bayliss and ‘a couple of other guys’ later, and Bayliss subsequently brought the issue to Australian coach Darren Lehmann. Lehmann asked the player question, who claimed he had called Ali ‘a part timer’ rather than ‘Osama’. Evidently Ali remained certain of what he had heard, but ‘had to take the player’s word for it’.
Cricket Australia responded to these fresh allegations by beginning an investigation into the incident, saying ‘remarks of this nature are unacceptable and have no place in our sport, or in society’. They are set to follow up the matter with the English Cricket Board.
The claims - further details of which will no doubt come out following Cricket Australia’s probe into the into the incident - once again bring into the spotlight the culture of the Australian cricket team in what has been a disappointing year for the team. Predominantly, this stems from the ball-tampering controversy during the tour of South Africa earlier this year, which subsequently saw captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner suspended for a year, and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft banned by Cricket Australia for nine months. In the wake of that incident, coach Darren Lehmann also stepped down, while many involved within the team questioned whether the desire to win had become so strong that it had the idea of fair play had been compromised.
These new allegations, while for the moment unsubstantiated, are just another incident which Cricket Australia will no doubt be loathed to deal with. If the comments are confirmed there will likely be further action taken considering their nature, though just what that action will be is yet to be determined.