‘Australian player called me Osama’: Moeen Ali

NEW DELHI: England all-rounder Moeen Ali has criticised the “rude” approach of several Australia teams he has played against, saying their “disrespect” for opponents makes them the only side he has “disliked”.

The off-spinner, in his upcoming autobiography, serialised in The Times, claims to suffer a racial taunt from an unnamed Australian player during the 2015 Ashes.

“It was a great first Ashes Test in terms of my personal performance,” Moeen recalls in the book. “However there was one incident which had distracted me. 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,” said the 31-year-old, who is known as a mild-mannered character on and off the field.

The off-spinner and left-handed batsman further said 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, who starred in England’s recent 4-1 Test series win over India after being recalled to the side, had no sympathy for the banned Australian trio of former captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, all sent into international isolation for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March.

(With inputs from agencies)