England cricketer fined for using unauthorised drying spray on his bowling hand during Test match

England cricket star Moeen Ali has been fined on his Test return for using an unauthorised drying spray on his bowling hand on day two of the Ashes curtain-raiser at Edgbaston.

Umpires had barred players from using any cream on their hands without prior approval ahead of the series between England and Australia.

The International Cricket Council accepted Ali’s use of the spray, which was spotted by television cameras as he fielded at the boundary in the 89th over of Australia’s innings, was an attempt to reduce perspiration and not a more serious charge of trying to alter the condition of the ball.

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However, he was found to have displayed conduct that is “contrary to the spirit of the game”.

As well as being docked a quarter of his match fee, Ali received a demerit point on his disciplinary record after admitting a breach of the ICC code of conduct.

In accepting the sanction, there is no need for a formal hearing.

But the penalty was an unwelcome birthday present for the player, who turned 36 on Sunday and is making his comeback to Test cricket after almost a two-year absence.

Ali has played exclusively short-form, white-ball cricket since September 2021 – but answered captain Ben Stokes’ call earlier this month after first-choice spinner Jack Leach went down with a back injury.

An ICC statement said: “England all-rounder Moeen Ali has been found guilty of breaching the ICC code of conduct and will be fined 25% of his match fee from the first Ashes Test against Australia.”

It added: “In reaching his decision to sanction the player … the match referee was satisfied that the cream was applied to the finger only to dry his hands.

“The cream was not applied as an artificial substance to the ball and consequently, it did not change the condition of the ball.”

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Such level one breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand, a maximum penalty of 50% of a player’s match fee, and one or two demerit points.