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Moeen calls for greater home support

David Hopps at Headingley

September 4, 2014

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Moeen not affected by crowd reaction

Moeen Ali pulls during his 50-ball 67, England v India, 4th ODI, Edgbaston, September 2, 2014
Moeen Ali insists he is not bothered by any negative crowd reaction but hopes to encourage more British-born Asians to support England © Getty Images

Moeen Ali has once again proved himself to be a fearless advocate of Britain's maturity as a multicultural nation by telling the British Indians who booed him at Edgbaston that he looks forward to the day when they all support England.

Moeen was persistently booed during the fourth ODI in Birmingham, the city of his birth, as some Indian supporters, most of them also British born, picked him out for special abuse in deference to traditional Indo-Pak rivalry.

"I just go out and block it out and try and play as best as I can," he said. "It's fine, it just goes straight over my head. I think it's maybe because my background is from Pakistan but it doesn't bother me."

Moeen, a practising Muslim, and instantly recognisable by the long beard that he proudly presents as a label of his faith, has previously expressed the belief that British-born Asians should support England.

He said at Headingley ahead of the final Royal London ODI that it was especially odd to hear Birmingham voices cheering on India. "Definitely - and they've got a Brummy accent or whatever and some of the chants are English chants. But it's just the way it is. Hopefully over time we can change that.

"I spoke to a lot of people and there were a lot of Asians there who were supporting England as well. But, obviously, the majority were supporting India."

Moeen was warned by the ICC in July after taking the field against India during the third Test at the Ageas Bowl wearing "Save Gaza" and "Free Palestine" wristbands. ICC rules state players should not wear messages relating to "political, religious or racial activities".

His evident pride in wearing the Three Lions of England promises to make him into a cult figure among England cricket supporters during a summer in which he has impressed with both bat and ball. He has shown it is possible to be both a devoutly practising Muslim and a ā€ˇproud England cricketer and British citizen. Such are the tensions of multiculturalism in Britain, however, he never expected it to be an easy ride.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by dinosaurus on (September 8, 2014, 7:20 GMT)

Captain Meanster, The issue is not that some British Indians support India - it is that they booed a player because of his origin or because of his religion. Both these things are (and really ought to be) taboo. What if a batch of "lager louts" turned to yelling abuse at those very Indians on the basis of *their* skin colour!! Such behaviour should not be tolerated, and I think such offenders should be removed from the ground by security personnel and barred for a year at least from attending matches.

Posted by gandabhai on (September 7, 2014, 12:27 GMT)

Most British Indians will support England in every international match except when it's against India.

Posted by analyseabhishek on (September 6, 2014, 17:28 GMT)

If you are born at a place, you should support the corresponding home team, period. If you happen to support the team playing against the home team, you should keep it private. Booing someone from the home team due to a crab mentality is simply not done. This is my personal view as an Indian living in India. You cannot keep your feet in two boats for too long. You cannot eat your cake and have it too.

Posted by danishsyed88 on (September 6, 2014, 15:54 GMT)

I am a British-born Muslim and have lived most of my life in Pakistan. But that 'birthplace' feeling is a lot more strong, and therefore I always support England. I have to listen to some criticism from people here in Pak but have got used to it :D

Posted by   on (September 6, 2014, 15:38 GMT)

If cricket fans of South Asian origin want to support the lands of their fathers against England that is not a problem. If they support Australia against England that is more of a problem. Who do British Indians support when England play Pakistan?

Posted by Prats6 on (September 6, 2014, 7:42 GMT)

Respect Moeen's views but everyone is entitles to support any team he/she wants. I have supported the weaker teams when they play India, does not mean that I don't like India. I have supported Pakistan when they play against many teams. Point - In sports, you support the team you love and it has nothing to do with where you live or was born.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (September 6, 2014, 0:05 GMT)

@JG2704: My friend, you are missing the point of my comment. Allegiance should come from the 'heart', you can't buy or demand it. Obviously, British Indians are still proud to be 'Indians' thanks to their roots and heritage. You can't deny them that. That doesn't mean they won't support England if the team plays others. Sure, they will support England if the opponent is Pakistan or SL or Australia etc. But they adore their Men In Blue. Let's not make this a big issue.

Posted by Omarrz on (September 5, 2014, 20:05 GMT)

isn't this surprising that players with Pakistani descent has played for England (Sajid Mehmood, Owais Shah, Kabir Ali, Moeen Ali), Australia (Fawad, Usman), South Africa (Imran Tahir), Zimbabwe (Sikandar Raza)

Posted by jb633 on (September 5, 2014, 17:49 GMT)

Moeen Ali has just gone up in my estimation as an English fan. After this disgraceful treatment I will want Aus to humiliate India in every facet of the game (Which I am sure they will have no issue doing). Can't wait to watch Mitch get at them.

Posted by   on (September 5, 2014, 14:35 GMT)

Irrespective of where you live, it is extremely difficult to sever all links from your roots. Your favourite could be any team or player, but no one has a license to be indecent or abusive to any team or player. The fact that some one from your background has qualified to represent another country's National Team, should by itself, merit recognition & support from a true sports lover. Going the other way, only proves the narrowness of one's thinking.

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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