CricketCould Moeen Ali have played for Australia? Read this interesting story related to his childhood
Post image
Has England’s most loved all-rounder Moeen Ali grown up in Australia? Believe it or not, yes.

Without the White Australia policies of the first half of the 20th century, Moeen Ali’s grandfather Shafayat Ali could have easily turned the tenure he worked as a merchant sailor into a permanent life.Instead, Shafayat moved to England, where he met Moeen’s grandmother Betty Wilson, and they married in 1949, just as the ban on non-European migration to Australia was beginning to be lifted.

“I didn’t know that until about two or three years before he passed away and I was coming to Australia,” Moeen Ali told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. “I was there for two years, worked on boats… It was okay, but then I went to England, I left after a few years, and that’s how our next generation started.

I think he was one of the first Pakistani Asians to reach England from Pakistan at that time. I think they saw an opportunity. This extraordinary twist in the story of Moeen, who has had a commendable career across formats for England, is reminiscent of the deep currents in Australian life that still contribute to huge crowds for the matches played by India and Pakistan in this Twenty20 World Cup, with many of those spectators not going to watch Australia or Big Bash League teams play.

“It was the era of post-war White Australia policy, when the government, eager for the British to migrate there, tried to attract ten pounds of poms. But they had to be white,” he wrote in his 2018 autobiography Moeen.

Shortly thereafter Harold Larwood, who had terrorised the Australian batting during the 1932 Bodyline series and fed up with running a small shop in Blackpool, moved to Australia under the ten-pound pom scheme.

Many others – estimates say it was over one and a half million – did the same. Who knows what my life would have been like if Australia had allowed migrants from Asia then?

At 35 and now focusing solely on white-ball formats, Moeen had a clear answer on how young players who follow him should approach the cricket system: Don’t feel like you have to conform to succeed. “I think it’s really important to be yourself and not try to be anything or anyone else,” Moeen Ali says.

“If you have a culture, your faith, or whatever you have at home and you’re comfortable, do it, and don’t try to fit in. Because I found myself too early, to be yourself, and if they like you, great, if they don’t like you it’s their problem. It’s something I’ve always stuck to.

“When I say ‘they’, it’s just this mindset, maybe the wrong mindset, that if you’re coming it’s going to be tough and you have to change. But really, you’ll get a lot more respect if you just be yourself and stay true to who you are. I don’t think it’s just for a South Asian background, it’s for anyone who comes into the system. But sometimes the thing in our mindset is that it is hard work and you will be treated differently. But if you’re yourself, you don’t really get it.