Moeen Ali made a late decision not to name the Australian player who allegedly called him ‘Osama’ during the 2015 Ashes Test in Cardiff, after including his identity in an earlier manuscript of his autobiography.
The decision to remove the player’s name — which Sportsmail knows but cannot reveal for legal reasons — came not long before the book appeared, and was motivated by Moeen’s desire to spare the player a public humiliation.
Cricket Australia (CA) said they would follow up the alleged incident with the ECB ‘as a matter of urgency’, despite their then coach Darren Lehmann knowing about it at the time. A CA official was also informed of the allegations three years ago by English journalists, but denied the incident had taken place.
An Australian player allegedly called England star Moeen Ali ‘Osama’ during the 2015 Ashes
Moeen and the Australian player briefly discussed what had happened at the end of that series, which England won 3-2. The player insisted he had been misheard, saying ‘Take that, part-timer’, rather than ‘Take that, Osama.’
He is then supposed to have said that some of his best friends were Muslim. But Moeen insisted he was called ‘Osama’ — a reference to the bearded terrorist Osama bin Laden.
Until now, the story has not escalated beyond the dressing-room. At the time, Moeen reported the comment to England coach Trevor Bayliss, who took it up with Lehmann.
Lehmann, who in 2003 was banned for five matches after shouting ‘black *****’ in the Australian dressing-room after his dismissal in a one-day game against Sri Lanka, put the claims to the player. He denied them.
The England all-rounder says the incident occurred during the first Ashes Test in Cardiff
Writing in his autobiography, the 31-year-old Moeen says: ‘I could not believe what I had heard’
Writing in his autobiography, Moeen says: ‘I could not believe what I had heard. I remember going really red. I have never been so angry on a cricket field.’
He adds: ‘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.’
The Australian board are already reeling following the ball-tampering scandal which led to bans for Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft and the commissioning of a review of team culture.
A spokesperson for CA 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 behaviours that comes with representing our country. We take this matter very seriously, and are following up with the ECB as a matter of urgency.’
Meanwhile, it is understood that Stuart Broad has not been spoken to yet by the selectors about the possibility of sitting out the forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka in a bid to stay fresh for next year’s Ashes. England are set to name their Test squad in a week’s time, with the limited-overs party due to be announced in the next 48 hours.
According to Moeen, the player involved denied making the slur when confronted about it