Rashid Khan threatens to quit Big Bash after Australia cancel series with Afghanistan

Rashid Khan was ‘really disappointed’ by Cricket Australia’s withdrawal from the series (Getty Images)
Rashid Khan was ‘really disappointed’ by Cricket Australia’s withdrawal from the series (Getty Images)

Afghan star Rashid Khan has threatened to quit the Big Bash League after Australia pulled out of its upcoming series with his country over the Taliban’s treatment of women.

Australia cancelled the one-day series, set to be played across three matches in the United Arab Emirates in March, following concerns over “further restrictions” on women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Khan is Afghanistan’s T20 captain and the 24-year-old leg-spinner is one of the best players in the world, ranked No1 in the T20i bowling rankings.

He has become a popular figure in Adelaide where he has starred for the Strikers in the Big Bash League (BBL), helping them win the T20 tournament in 2018. He left the team mid-season to participate in South Africa’s inaugural SA20 league, and on departing over the weekend Khan said he would “definitely be back on this team next season … I am so blessed and happy to be loved here.”

However, on Wednesday he tweeted in response to Cricket Australia’s decision to pull out of the series with Afghanistan, saying he would be considering his future in the BBL as a result.

“Cricket! The only hope for the country,” Khan tweeted. “Keep politics out of it.”

He added: “'I am really disappointed to hear that Australia have pulled out of the series to play us in March. 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 in 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.”

Cricket Australia had earlier released a statement explaining the move.

“This decision follows the recent announcement by the Taliban of further restrictions on women’s and girls’ education and employment opportunities and their ability to access parks and gyms.

“CA is committed to supporting growing the game for women and men around the world, including in Afghanistan, and will continue to engage with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in anticipation of improved conditions for women and girls in the country.

“We thank the Australian Government for its support on this matter.”