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‘Can cricket solve those issues?’ – Rashid to reconsider playing BBL over CA stance on Afghanistan

Suryakumar Yadav gets the ramp going in the nets
‘Can cricket solve those issues?’ – Rashid to reconsider playing BBL over CA stance on Afghanistan


The T20I series, a part of the ICC’s future tours programme, was scheduled for August at a neutral venue, but CA said in January that it was postponing the engagement after consultations with the Australian government because of “a marked deterioration in human rights for women and girls” in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

“It does hurt you,” Rashid told ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday in Ahmedabad, where Titans will play their next IPL 2024 game, against Delhi Capitals, on Wednesday. “You do want to play against the best teams and that’s where your cricket is going to improve more and more. You only get the opportunity playing against them [Australia] in the World Cups, but not in bilateral series.”

Rashid, who will lead Afghanistan at the 2024 T20 World Cup in June, said that playing against top-ranked teams would be hugely beneficial for the growth of his team. As an example, Rashid cited the three-match T20I series Afghanistan played this January against India, which they lost 2-1.

“Recently, we played three T20s against India, and it helped us a lot,” he said. “We nearly chased 200 [212] against India. Imagine if you wouldn’t have played that, where would the confidence come from? Playing against big teams is huge for us.”

This was the third time CA had chosen not to honour a bilateral engagement with Afghanistan: in 2021, what would have been the first Test match between the two teams, was postponed, and then, in 2023, an ODI series was called off.

“You don’t want to play with my colleagues and you want to play with me. So what’s the difference? It means I’m putting my colleagues down as well. My country down as well”

Rashid Khan on playing in the BBL

“As a player you can’t do much about it,” he said. “It’s the issue of governments to resolve. But what hurts me the most is when things like that happens, why it is hurting cricket [in Afghanistan]?

“If something is [in the hands of the] governments, why is hurting cricket? Why it comes to cricket? Can cricket solve those issues? I think if cricket is solving those issues, then it’s fine, then I’m happy with it.”

Rashid stressed that cricket was a “source of happiness” for Afghanistan, and that was something Australia needed to understand.

“Cricket is the only source back home in Afghanistan which give people happiness,” he said. “And if you are taking that happiness [away] from the people as well, you are hurting more people as well back home. And that is something which I feel like is more hurting as a captain where you are so excited as a youngster playing against Australia and then this thing just happens.”

Rashid on BBL: ‘Nothing is bigger than my country’

Last year, Rashid had threatened to withdraw from the BBL, but changed his mind and entered the BBL draft, before missing the tournament because he had to undergo a back surgery. Rashid said that CA’s latest move had again forced him to reassess his stance on participating in the BBL, where he has represented Adelaide Strikes since 2016-17.

“Lots of things come in the mind,” he said. “Like, if you don’t want to play against my team, then why you want me to play in your country? Because I’m not allowed then in your country as well to play cricket.

“You don’t want to play with my colleagues and you want to play with me? So what’s the difference? It means I’m putting my colleagues down as well. My country down as well. So if I’m playing there, if money in these things comes, nothing is bigger than my country. Money will just go and come. That’s not the point.

“If they play with us and we play against them, that’s the only way we can play there as well. That’s the only solution for this problem to be solved.”

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo



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