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  1. ITV Report

Moeen Ali makes 'Osama bin Laden' Ashes racism claim

Moeen Ali (c) has accused an Australian player of calling him 'Osama'. Credit: PA

England cricketer Moeen Ali has accused an Australian player of calling him "Osama" during his Ashes debut in 2015.

The 31-year-old all-rounder said the remark was made on the field as England won the series opener in Cardiff.

Ali, who scored 77 runs in his first innings and took five wickets in the match, did not reveal the identity of the player in his autobiography where the claim was made.

The Times is serialising Ali's autobiography, which details the moment he was compared to the terrorist Osama bin Laden.

England won the Ashes series 3-2.

Ali made his Ashes debut at Cardiff in 2015. Credit: PA

The Worcestershire player wrote: "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 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."

The player involved denied making the slur when confronted about it.

"I told a couple of the guys what the player had said to me and I think (England coach) Trevor Bayliss must have raised it with Darren Lehmann, the Australians' coach," Ali added.

"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 for there is a world of difference between the words 'Osama' and 'part-timer'.

"Although I couldn't have mistaken 'part-timer' for 'Osama', obviously I had to take the player's word for it, though for the rest of the match I was angry."

The all-rounder has not identified the player in question. Credit: PA

Ali revealed that after the series, during which he said the Australia team "refused to talk to or even acknowledge us", he spoke to the player.

He said: "He came up to me and said, 'I know what you thought I said, but I didn't say that. I've got Muslim friends and some of my best friends are Muslims'.

"I did not argue with him. But I was so clear that is what he said. Why should I invent it out of the blue? I've got nothing against him. I have never had any fights with him before. I did not even know the guy. And I thought his denial was a standard response."

Cricket Australia says it is taking Ali's claims "very seriously".

A spokesman 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."