'Putting my country down' - Gujarat Titans star lashes out at Cricket Australia for double standards

Cricket Australia had indefinitely postponed a three-match T20I series against Afghanistan, which was scheduled to be played at a neutral venue.

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Gujarat Titans star player Rashid Khan has lashed out at Cricket Australia for postponing Australia's scheduled three-match T20I series against Afghanistan. The series was originally supposed to be played in August 2024 at a neutral venue and it was a part of ICC's Future Tours Programme.

But CA had indefinitely postponed the series after consultations with the Australian government because of "a marked deterioration in human rights for women and girls" in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. This is not the first time when CA has decided to dishonour a bilateral engagement with Afghanistan. In 2021, a one-off Test in Perth, which was also supposed to be the first Test ever between Australia and Afghanistan, was indefinitely postponed. In 2023, and ODI series was cancelled by CA citing similar reasons.

Rashid Khan hurt by Cricket Australia's stance

CA's decision has not gone well with Afghanistan's T20I skipper Rashid Khan who was deeply hurt with the decision. While speaking to ESPNCricinfo ahead of Gujarat Titans' match against Delhi Capitals in Ahmedabad, Rashid said that it is important to play against bigger teams to improve.

"It does hurt you. 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 said.

"Recently, we played three T20s against India, and it helped us a lot. 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," he added.

"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," the star allrounder opined.

Rashid went on to say that nothing is bigger than his country. He believes that the only solution to this problem is the start of bilateral series between the two nations.

"Lots of things come in the mind. 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?" Rashid explained.

"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," he added.

Also read: IPL legend forced by teammates to return after 5 years to international cricket for T20 World Cup

Rashid Khan had threatened to withdraw from BBL last year as well, but then changed his mind and entered the BBL draft. But he went on to miss the tournament due to his back surgery. Rashid has been an integral part of BBL team Adelaide Strikers since 2016-17. In his BBL career, he has picked up 98 wickets in 68 matches at an average of 17.51 and an economy rate of 6.44.

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