England will be without the services of Adil Rashid in next month’s white-ball series against India as the leg-spinner has received clearance from the country’s cricket board (ECB) to make Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
Rashid, a practicing Muslim, will fly to Saudi Arabia on Saturday, which means he will also miss the latter stages of Yorkshire’s T20 Blast campaign.
”I’ve been wanting to do it for a little while but I’ve found it pretty difficult with the timings. This year, I felt as though it was something that I had to do, and something I wanted to do as well,” Rashid told ‘ESPNcricinfo’.
”I spoke to the ECB and to Yorkshire about it and they were very understanding and encouraging, like: ‘yep, you do what you’ve got to do and then come back when you can’. ”I and the missus are going and I’ll be there for a couple of weeks,” he added.
Rashid was part of England’s recently-concluded tour of the Netherlands, where the visitors comfortably bagged the three-match ODI series 3-0.
”It’s a massive moment: each faith has got their own different thing but for Islam and being a Muslim, this is one of the biggest ones,” Rashid said. ”It’s a big thing for my faith and for myself. I knew that I needed to do it while I’m young and strong and healthy. This is something that I really committed to myself that I would do.” India takes on hosts England in a white-ball series, including three T20Is and as many ODIs from July 7 to 17.
Rashid is expected to miss all six games as he is likely to return in mid-July, ahead of England’s white-ball series against South Africa. But the 34-year-old asserted that the decision to go on the holy pilgrimage ”was irrelevant to cricket.” ”It wasn’t like, right, I’m playing against India – I’d better not go. That didn’t really cross my mind. It was purely: right, I’m going – the decision was irrelevant of cricket, in that sense,” Rashid said.
”All I had to do was speak to Yorkshire and England and get their go-ahead. That was very easy and they were very understanding. To have that backing from your county and from your country, it feels like a big boost.”