Moeen Ali is an England cricketer of Pakistani origin © Getty Images
Moeen Ali is an England cricketer of Pakistani origin © Getty Images

London: Sep 9, 2014

The head of England‘s Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) has said Moeen Ali should take it as a “positive” that he was booed by large sections of the crowd during England’s three-run T20 win over India at Birmingham’s Edgbaston ground on Sunday. Ali’s father, Munir Ali, is convinced his Birmingham-born son was targeted because of his Muslim faith and Pakistani heritage, with police treating it as a “non-crime hate related incident” after a complaint from a spectator.

But Angus Porter, the chief executive of England’s PCA, said on Tuesday he hoped there was no fall-out from Munir Ali’s comments.”His dad offered his view sincerely and I hope it doesn’t stoke the fire because he was just standing up for his boy,” Porter said. “There is an element of taking it as a compliment. You are more likely to boo someone when you think they are someone to be feared. Take it as a positive, you’d rather be booed than ignored.”

Porter added he would be surprised if abuse had come Ali’s way from India fans. “It shouldn’t happen but I have always found the Indians to be respectful and it is a little bit surprising in that respect,” he said. Some players become ‘hate figures’ with crowds because of incidents involving their opponents, such as the dust-up between England’s James Anderson and India’s Ravindra Jadeja in the Test series that preceded the limited-overs matches between the two countries. As a result, both players were jeered throughout India’s tour by spectators. But there appeared to be no such ‘trigger’ for the booing of Birmingham-born Ali.

“Supporters pay their money and they are entitled to express an opinion, but I don’t think it’s exclusively about Moeen,” Porter said. “You see other players get booed. Jimmy Anderson gets booed when he goes to Yorkshire and it’s disappointing when players are performing as entertainers and doing their best. It would be great if spectators saw the positives.”

Police are unable to take further action without a complaint from off-spinning all-rounder Ali who does not want to pursue the issue after taking one for 31 and being out for a duck in Sunday’s match. “We are very disappointed with what happened. It should have been a special day,” Munir Ali told the ESPNcricinfo website. “Moeen was playing for his country in the city of his birth. It is the city I was born in and the city my mother was born in. The whole family was looking forward to it and we thought he would receive a warm welcome. Instead he was abused from the start. He was abused because he is a Muslim and because of his Pakistan heritage. That is disgraceful.

“We have experienced so much kindness and goodwill from all communities — Indian, British and Pakistani — in recent months, so it is disappointing that some supporters let their team down with this behaviour. There is still a problem with racism between Asian communities in the UK.”