England cricketer Moeen Ali has alleged that an Australian player called him “Osama” during an Ashes test match in the Welsh city of Cardiff in 2015.
The all-rounder made the revelation in a book, extracts of which were published in The Times newspaper on Saturday.
“It was a great first Ashes Test in terms of my personal performance, however, there was one incident which had distracted me,” Ali wrote, continuing: “An Australian player had 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.”
Ali said he raised the issue with England officials, who complained to the Australian team. The unnamed player who made the remark was said to have denied doing so, claiming that he said “part-timer” instead of “Osama”.
The slur is a reference to the former leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a US raid in Pakistan in 2011.
Ali is a practising Muslim, who wears his beard long, a common tradition among observant Muslims.
The Ashes are a series of test matches, each lasting up to five days, played by England and Australia.
Responding to the allegations, Cricket Australia, the country’s national cricket board, said the alleged remarks were “unacceptable” and “have no place” in the sport.
“We have a clear set of values and behaviours that comes with representing our country,” a statement said.
“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.”
Ali is regarded as one of England’s best players, having scored five centuries and taken 145 wickets in his 52 match career.