Srinagar: England ace spinner Adil Rashid has said that he will not be part of India white series for England in order to make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
Rashid has been granted leave by the ECB and will fly to the Middle East on Saturday and is expected to return in mid-July and will take part in the series against South Africa.
“I’ve been wanting to do it for a little while but I’ve found it pretty difficult with the timings,” Rashid said this while speaking to ESPNcricinfo.
“This year, I felt as though it was something that I had to do, and something I wanted to do as well. 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’. Me and the missus are going and I’ll be there for a couple of weeks”.
“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. 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.”
Rashid expects to miss all six limited-overs against India from July 7 to 17 but said the fixture list was not a major consideration in his decision.
“It wasn’t like, right, I’m playing against India – I’d better not go,” he said. “That didn’t really cross my mind. It was purely: right, I’m going – the decision was irrelevant to cricket, in that sense.
“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.”
Adil Rashid lauded skipper Eoin Morgan for creating a supportive environment in the dressing room for him and the other Muslim teammates.
“Everyone in the dressing room respects our faith massively, and they’ve got a good understanding of it now with myself and Moeen around,” he said.
“It’s very easy for us to be who we are in the dressing room, on and off the pitch, around the boys because they’re so understanding. A lot of credit goes to England for making that environment very easy – not just for myself and Mo, but for other people.