Canberra: Afghanistan’s top spinner Rashid Khan is likely to withdraw from the Big Bash League, the franchise-based domestic T20 league after Cricket Australia decided to pull out of an ODI series with his country in March this year.
Rashid Khan has threatened to quit playing in the BBL, highlighting Afghanistan’s furious response, said he would be “strongly considering my future in that competition” after Australia refused to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Australia decided to withdraw from the ODI series after Afghanistan’s Taliban government banned women and girls’ education and employment in Afghanistan. Cricket Australia stated the decision to opt out of the tour was made in consultation with the Australian government and other stakeholders.
Afghanistan is the only ICC full-member nation without a women’s team and will be the only full-member without a side at the inaugural Women’s U19 T20 World Cup starting on Saturday.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) announced that it will take up the matter with the International Cricket Council.
In response, Rashid Khan expressed his disappointment over CA’s decision.
“I am really disappointed to hear that Australia have pulled out of the series to play us in March,” Rashid said in his statement. “I take great pride in representing my country, and we have made great progress on the world stage. This decision from CA sets us back on that journey.
“If playing vs Afghanistan is so uncomfortable for Australia, then I wouldn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable with my presence in the BBL. Therefore, I will be strongly considering my future in that competition.”
In a tweet to the accounts of Cricket Australia, the BBL and ACB officials, Rashid added: “Cricket! The only hope for the country. Keep politics out of it.”
Afghanistan’s most-renowned leg-spinner, an itinerant cricketer who participates in T20 leagues all over the world, played eight matches for the Adelaide Strikers this season before going to play in the SA20 league in South Africa and wasn’t expected to return to Australia this season.
He has previously voiced support for women in his country since the Taliban takeover.