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cricket:image:1440362 [900x506] (Credit: ICC/Getty Images)

Ravens Henry 30 to let play speak for my age

Rashid Khan wishes "we could do something and wish there was a solution for it" but can't do much about "some things which is not under the control of anyone in cricket." The Afghanistan T20I captain was responding to whether beating Australia at the T20 World Cup on Saturday night in St Vincent gave them extra satisfaction.

The backdrop to the question was in relation to Cricket Australia's decision to not play Afghanistan bilaterally due to "a marked deterioration in human rights for women and girls" in the country. Earlier this year, Cricket Australia postponed a scheduled three-match T20I series with Afghanistan. CA have also postponed the hosting of a one-off Test for the same reason.

"Well, we are sportsmen, and we love sports," Rashid said at the post-match press conference. "People back home love sports. And I mentioned earlier, cricket is the only source of happiness back home. That's the only source left in Afghanistan where people could celebrate. And if we keep that source away from us, I don't know where Afghanistan will remain.

"We sportsmen only think about the cricket. Everyone is saying sports bring the nation together and bring everyone together. So, for me, we're always happy to play against any side, and that's the only way where our cricket can improve day by day. Some things which are not under the control of anyone in cricket, and that's something we can't do anything about it. Wish we could do something, and wish that was a kind of solution for it, we would have been happy, but I don't know what's the solution for that."

Rashid had threatened to withdraw from the Big Bash League in 2023 after CA decided to postpone their ODI series. Rashid's public stance joined a chorus of protests from Afghanistan's male cricketers soon after ACB had termed CA's statement over refusing to play Afghanistan due to the human rights crisis as "pathetic".

Rashid eventually softened his stance and put his name up in the drafts but was forced to miss the tournament through injury. On Sunday, Rashid reiterated they're happy to play the team, but have no direct control of things that happen beyond cricket.

"We're happy to play any side, but as I mentioned earlier, some things, government, and political things, I don't know much about these things, and I don't like it as well. So, I have no answer for this, but my only thing always in mind is I love to play against the big teams. I love to travel all around the world to play and I have received so much so much love from everyone.

"Whenever I go to Australia for Big Bash, I think I have got so much love and support from the fans there. They have given me so much love. In 2022 T20 World Cup, when we were playing in Adelaide against Australia, I got more support than them. And that was so satisfying."

Rashid reminisced the love and support he received in the aftermath of his father's passing during the BBL in 2019, and termed fans in Adelaide [he plays for Adelaide Strikers] as "family", while maintaining "cricket isn't the solution for politics."

"Playing in Australia, I've got massive support in every city. The hospitality I got in Australia, especially during the tough days in 2019 when my dad passed away, that was the hardest time for me when I was in Australia. And the amount of love and support I got from everyone in the team, and also the fans, I think I call them a family.

"But as I said, I love to play all around the world. And those things which are not under the control, and cricket is not the solution, I don't think we can bring sports into that. If there is another solution, you can take that. But don't think cricket is the solution of politics and things like that.

"So, yeah, if we play in the World Cup, why don't we play in bilateral series? I think we're happy to play against the best side. We learn from them. We get better day by day. But that's the only thing I can say."