Home » ‘Nothing is bigger than my country’: Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan hits out at Cricket Australia after bilateral series withdrawal

‘Nothing is bigger than my country’: Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan hits out at Cricket Australia after bilateral series withdrawal

Adelaide Strikers all-rounder Rashid Khan has declared he might reconsider participating in next summer’s Big Bash League after Cricket Australia withdrew from another bilateral series against Afghanistan.

Last month, CA postponed a three-match T20I series against Afghanistan scheduled for August, maintaining its stance not to play bilateral cricket against the nation until there were “improved conditions for women and girls”.

Since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in August 2021, many of the nation’s female athletes have gone into hiding and received death threats, while Afghanistan remains the only ICC full member nation without a women’s team.

“Conditions for women and girls in Afghanistan are getting worse. For this reason, we have maintained our previous position and will postpone the bilateral series against Afghanistan,” CA said in a statement last month.

“CA continues its strong commitment to supporting participation by women and girls in cricket around the world and will continue to actively engage the International Cricket Council and work closely with the Afghanistan Cricket Board to determine what actions could be taken to support the resumption of bilateral matches in the future.”

CA had previously cancelled a one-off Test against Afghanistan in November 2021 and a three-match ODI series in 2023. However, Australia has continued playing Afghanistan at ICC events, including the 2022 T20 World Cup on home soil and last year’s World Cup in India.

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After last year’s ODI series in the United Arab Emirates was abandoned, a “really disappointed” Khan threatened to boycott the BBL, but ultimately nominated for the Overseas Player Draft where he was retained by the Strikers. However, the leg-spinner later pulled out of the T20 tournament due to a back injury.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo this week, Khan confessed he was left “hurt” by CA’s latest withdrawal and warned that it would be detrimental to Afghanistan cricket.

“You do want to play against the best teams and that’s where your cricket is going to improve more and more … playing against big teams is huge for us,” Khan, currently representing the Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League, told the publication.

“As a player you can’t do much about it. 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?

“Can cricket solve those issues?”

Khan, the reigning ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Decade, is the Strikers’ leading wicket-taker in BBL history, taking 98 scalps at 17.51 with an economy of 6.44.

“If you don’t want to play against my team, then why do you want me to play in your country?” Khan continued.

“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.

“Nothing is bigger than my country.”