'Have a lot of sympathy' - spin giants come out in support of Moeen after drying agent controversy

The off-spinner was fined 25% of his match fees on Test match return for the Ashes 2023 opener after being seen applying a drying cream on his fingers. 
Moeen Ali

Enduring a difficult return to Test cricket and lashed out with a fine of 25% for a controversial incident during the Ashes 2023 opener in Birmingham, Moeen Ali found support from two of the leading spin giants of the game. 

The Warwickshire cricketer was slashed one-fourth of his match fees for breaking the ICC code of conduct after being seen applying a drying agent on his fingers at the edge of the boundary line during the Australian first-innings on Day 3 of the Test match. 

While the governing body found no evidence to the claim that Moeen Ali may have been involved in the act of trying to alter the condition of the ball, applying the drying cream on his fingers without informing the umpire was considered a breach of the mandatory code of conduct set by the ICC. 

The cricketer had no complaints to offer to the sanction imposed against him. But two of the famed cricketers Nathan Lyon, who is playing the Ashes as the opposition spin counterpart, and former India tweaker Harbhajan Singh wondered if it was fair of the officials to fine the England off-spinner. 

Moeen finds support from Harbhajan, Lyon 

Moeen Ali breached Article 2.20 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel. The application of an outside substance on the fingers, which could've touched the ball, is not allowed under the playing conditions laid out by the governing body. Moeen's act sparked a debate all over social media. But he found support from Harbhajan. 

Despite the heated Ashes rivalry, Lyon was kind enough to sympathise with Moeen, who made his comeback to Test cricket without any preparations leading into the game and also got fined his match fees. The off-spinner did pick up three wickets but conceded 147 runs at 4.50 an over in the first-innings and then went at an economy rate of 4.10 in the final essay. 

"It’s massive to be honest with you, I actually sitting here have a lot of sympathy for Moeen. Not coming off any red-ball cricket for two years and thrown into bowling a lot of overs. The best way I can probably sum it up, and it will probably sound weird, is a singer losing their vocals but expecting to go out and put a concert on," Lyon told the press after Day 4. 

"It is extremely tough to grip the ball as finger spinners, especially as offies, we put our fingers on the seam and try to spin up the back of the ball. That’s where we get spin, drop and drift. So (I’ve) a lot of sympathy for him, I’ve been there before, it is quite painful," he added.