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Moeen wristbands create a flutter

Southampton: England have defended Moeen Ali’s right to wear wristbands demonstrating his support and sympathy for the people of Gaza when batting on the second day of the third Test against India in Southampton.

The International Cricket Council’s code of conduct bans players from displaying “messages which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes”, and an ICC spokesman confirmed on Monday that the governing body is “investigating the matter”.

But England believe that Moeen’s messages “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine” were humanitarian rather than political, after the 27-year-old had already been pictured raising money for the Gaza relief efforts in his home city of Birmingham last week.

An England and Wales Cricket Board spokesman said: “The ECB don’t believe he has committed any offence.”