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Ashes 2023

Explained: The Alex Carey haircut debt rumour that was started by Alastair Cook and has been denied by Cricket Australia

Alex Carey has got into a haircut saga with Alastair Cook reportedly starting the rumour | Ashes 2023
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Alex Carey can’t stop making headlines. Less than a week after his stumping of Jonny Bairstow stirred up a storm, he’s found himself at the centre of a bizarre story, with a Leeds haircutter claiming Carey left his store without paying for his services.

Hours ahead of the third day of the Headingley Test, Cricket Australia categorically denied a story published in The Sun, which stated that Adam Mahmood, of Doc Barnet’s Barber Shop, is “still waiting” for the money Carey promised to pay, since he wasn’t carrying cash when he recently got a haircut done by the barber.

The story says Mahmood has set a deadline for Monday after Carey had promised to send £30 by bank transfer, having not had any cash on him when he and his teammates Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne underwent a trim ahead of the third Test in Leeds.


Mahmood also claims that Carey refused to pose for photos, even as the rest posed and paid for their services at the cash-only salon.

“Well, there’s a Tesco cash machine literally round the corner he could have run to,” says Mahmood, as quoted by The Sun. “He could have nipped back to their hotel and been no more than five minutes but instead he said he would transfer it.

“Maybe he forgot. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt but if it’s not paid by Monday, I won’t be happy.”

The story doesn’t end before Alastair Cook makes an entrance. Apparently, Mahmood only got to know about the Lord’s stumping incident through Cook, another of his customers.

“Cooky told me all about what happened and laughed when I told him Carey had done a runner,” Mahmood was quoted as saying. “He’s starting to get quite the reputation.”

Cricket Australia, though, aren’t amused by the story. According to AAP journalist Scott Bailey, the Australian management has said that the claim is untrue and that Carey hasn’t had his hair cut since the World Test Championship final against India last month.

Further, another player reportedly visited Mahmood and paid via international transfer, and is likely to return with receipts to clear the confusion.

Interestingly, it was Cook who first spoke about the story while commentating on BBC Test Match Special on the opening day of the Leeds Test.

Cook narrated how, on his visit, the barber told him about all the Australian players who had visited the store, including Labuschagne, Khawaja and David Warner. “There was one more… Alex – Alex Carey, the wicketkeeper – and he said hasn’t paid!” recounted Cook the barber’s account.

“It’s one of those cash-only ones and he promised him he would have a transfer [done] later in the day and this was just below it shut”, Cook continued, much to co-commentator Jonathan Agnew’s surprise.

“This is a true story, I am not making it up. He might have paid him now”.

True story or not, the barber-gate is well and truly on.

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