The legspinner Adil Rashid, a practising Muslim, is likely to miss India’s white-ball series against England as he has his cricket board’s backing to make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
‘The Cricketer’ reported that the English player Rashid’s pilgrimage runs from July 7 to July 12, which is likely to rule him out the first three T20Is and and the first ODI. The magazine reported that England Cricket Board have supported the request, after Rashid sought the permission from the director of operations Rob Key, who gave his backing.
In May 2020, Rashid had talked about sport at times can come in the way of one’s religion. “Sport can come in the way of your religion. The cricket season takes place from April to September. That is when the Hajj pilgrimage has generally taken place over the last few years so I have not had the opportunity to make the trip,” Rashid had told the BBC.
It was a series of interactions with the former Pakistan spinner and one-time spin coach of England that turned around his life, Rashid has said in the past. Days after England won the 2019 ODI world cup, Rashid had attended celebrations at his local mosque in his home city of Bradford, Masjid Umar.
“It was 2011 in this very mosque that I came for a prayer and I bumped into Saqlain, who was on a spiritual retreat here. I tagged along with him for around 10 days and it was an eye opener for me,” Rashid was quoted by BBC then.
“It brought up questions about what I am doing with my life outside of cricket. As a Muslim, what is my duty? What do I need to do? Am I being a good person? Am I reading all five compulsory prayers? I had to think about all that, because prior to that I was not a fully practising Muslim – it was all about cricket.
“You have a good day, you are buzzing. If you have a bad day then you feel depressed. I really got into Islam and started reading up on stuff so after that, whether I had a good or a bad day, I knew Allah was in control. That really got me content, level-headed and relaxed. You still work hard but the outcome became irrelevant.
“My emotions were more on an even keel – and that has been the case over the last six or seven years. Before that, the highs and lows were having a negative effect, not just on myself but those around me too. You get moody and down around friends and family but then get overly happy.
“That was something I was stuck into because I did not have a strong belief in Islam. The religion gave me a sense of a way of life around my actions, my etiquettes and how to interact with people. I’m very thankful to Allah that that happened to me.”