Rashid Khan has described the Australian public as “family”, thanking the nation for supporting him following the death of his father.
The Afghan leg-spinner, arguably the Big Bash League’s best player, has remained in Australia to play for the Adelaide Strikers despite the death of his father on Sunday.
The youngster has continued to star for the Strikers in the two games since his loss, most recently blasting 21 not out from seven balls and taking 1-18 in his side’s win over the Melbourne Renegades in Geelong on Thursday night.
Rashid has committed to play out the remainder of the season but is set to briefly return to Afghanistan to be with his family during a break in the Strikers’ schedule.
He explained why he has decided to stay.
“It happens. It’s life. In this situation, my family has really supported me, my fans all over the world are supporting me,” Rashid said.
“Especially my mum, my brothers, my nephews. They were encouraging me a lot from back home. They were calling me again and again. They were like, ‘you have to be there, you have to play for us, you have to play for your dad. We can see you’re sad, you’re alone there, you’re [a long way] from home. That’s how their motivation helped to stay here and play for the Strikers.”
Rashid spent Wednesday night with compatriot and Renegades all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, who has helped the gun leggie deal with his loss.
Rashid, meanwhile, thanked his teammates and the Australian community at large.
“The way the team, my captain, my coaches, my management – the way they [supported] me has been great. They were in my room until late, encouraging me,” Rashid said.
“I really love that – that kept me alive there, fresh and fine, how the teammates and everyone look after me. They were coming to me after five minutes and hugging me. They gave me lots of love, especially people in Adelaide when I was going outside, for dinner, for lunch, someone was seeing me there having lunch or dinner and they were coming to me and encouraging me.
“I didn’t feel like I’m alone here. The whole Australia is my family, everyone is looking after me very close for me and very friendly and like a family member.
“They give me lots of love and I didn’t feel myself to be alone here. I just keep in a good energy.”
Rashid could soon be joined by younger brother Zaki, who wants to visit Australia to come watch the leggie.
Rashid, the world’s No. 2 ranked one-day international bowler, is best known as a tweaker but explained that when he first entered the cricket scene he was more a batsman than a bowler, so it should be no surprise that he can wield the willow.
He also opened up on his decision to commit to the whole BBL season rather than head to the overlapping Bangladesh Premier League which has robbed the BBL of several potential key imports.
“I was approached as well to go there but I always preferred myself to go to Big Bash,” Rashid said.