Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid sat down with former England limited overs captain Eoin Morgan to discuss their Muslim faith; both players have praised the diversity of England’s squad and the accepting atmosphere it has fostered
Last Updated: 20/07/22 10:47am
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England’s Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid speak to Eoin Morgan about the importance of their faith and how the team has embraced diversity
Moeen Ali says he “cherishes” being part of a diverse England cricket team and that the “very special” nature of the changing room has created an accepting environment.
The 35-year-old all-rounder has made 235 international appearances across all formats, and in 2020 became the first Muslim and British Asian to captain England in a T20 game.
Moeen’s England team-mate Adil Rashid has just re-joined the England squad having missed a bilateral limited overs series against India earlier this month after being given clearance to make the holy pilgrimage to Mecca.
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The Hajj is an annual journey to the sacred city in Saudi Arabia that all Muslims with physical and financial means are expected to carry out once in their lifetime.
Moeen and Rashid sat down with their former captain Eoin Morgan ahead of England’s ODI series opener against South Africa on Tuesday to discuss their faith, and the latter’s recent journey.
Asked by Morgan whether the diversity in the changing room has helped the level of acceptance and education around the group, Moeen said: “100 per cent.
“Since Rash was away, I had to answer a lot of questions about Haj, which has been great. That sort of dialogue is really important, and it works both ways obviously.
“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.”
Moeen and Rashid were key players in the England squad that triumphed on home soil in the 2019 50-over World Cup. England’s team in the final was led by the Irish Morgan, and included Barbados-born fast bowler Jofra Archer, along with South-African born Jason Roy and New-Zealand born Ben Stokes.
Moeen continued: “It’s really, really good and something that we love, and we do cherish as much as we can because we know how good it is and it’s not always the case in all changing rooms, but this is a very special changing room and it means a lot.”
England vs S Africa
July 22, 2022, 12:30pm
Rashid: ECB and Yorkshire backing was magnificent
Rashid had previously found it difficult to make the pilgrimage due to timings and commitments, but the leg-spinner and his wife made the trip after he got the green light from both Yorkshire and the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Having returned from Hajj, Rashid praised the ECB and his county for leaving him with an “easy” decision.
“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,” Rashid said.
“It was something that made my life easier, the decision was very easy, there wasn’t really much to think about.
“(It was an) unbelievable experience. Something that as a Muslim that we have to do, if you’ve got the means, if you’re able to, if you’re mentally and physically fit. It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for a little while, but obviously with cricket it’s been a bit difficult.
“It was the experience of a lifetime. It teaches a lot of things, it teaches patience, it also teaches you to be grateful for what you have.”
Watch the second ODI between England and South Africa live on Sky Sports Cricket on Friday. Coverage starts at 12.30pm with the first ball at 1pm.