In a candid chat with the former captain Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid discussed the importance of the Hajj pilgrimage and praised the diversity and culturally inclusive environment of England’s cricket team. 

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The show premiered during the innings break of the first ODI between England and South Africa. Rashid was recently granted leave by Yorkshire and ECB to complete the holy trip to Mecca. He missed the white-ball assignment against India, but is now back in the side, and was in the playing XI for Tuesday’s clash.

“Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. So as cricketers we know having role models, but as Muslims role models are the prophets. We follow as much as we can in terms of fasting, and praying,” said Ali.

“It teaches you patience and being grateful for whatever you have,” added Rashid, who also thanked the skipper Morgan for the encouragement. “I spoke to the ECB, I spoke to yourself (Morgan) being my captain at the time – you were my go-to person – the encouragement, the backing that I got from the ECB and Yorkshire was magnificent.”

Moeen also added that he had to answer lots of queries about the pilgrimage when Rashid was away. But he took this in the right spirit, stating “this sort of dialogue is really important.”

“The diversity around the group and team has been really good for a while now, anybody can come in and out of the changing room from any sort of background or differences that they have, and everyone just sort of fits like a glove almost,” added Moeen, who is also the first Muslim and British Asian to lead England’s cricket team. 

Last year, English cricket was rocked by racial allegations from Yorkshire’s Azeem Rafique. Yorkshire’s handling of the case caused furore in the entire country, and Rafique testified in front of the parliamentary committee. Yorkshire’s ban from hosting matches at Headingley was revoked only after ECB felt that the club is making substantial progress in addressing the problem of racism.

Featured Image Credit: GeoTV