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Rashid Khan ends BBL boycott threat, nominates to play

Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS

Cricket Australia has been given a significant boost with Rashid Khan relenting on his threat to boycott the Big Bash League and telling officials he intends on playing in the tournament this summer.

Rashid created headlines in January when he threatened to quit the BBL over Australia's decision to withdraw from a white-ball series against Afghanistan on human-rights grounds.

The world's top-ranked T20 bowler was upset Cricket Australia had cancelled the series based on the Taliban's ban on university education for girls in the country.

"I am really disappointed to hear that Australia have pulled out of the series to play us in March," the Adelaide Strikers spinner said in a statement at the time.

"If playing Afghanistan is so uncomfortable for Australia, then I wouldn't want to make anyone uncomfortable with my presence in the BBL.

"Therefore, I will be strongly considering my future in that competition."

The official list of players available for next Sunday's overseas draft will not be released until Monday.

But AAP has been told by league sources that the 24-year-old has nominated to feature in the tournament.

CA made it clear in January that they stood by their position on skipping Afghanistan matches, but Rashid and any other players from the nation were welcome in the BBL.

Fellow Afghan players Mujeeb ur Rahman, Noor Ahmed and Izharulhaq Naveed have also now nominated for the draft after playing in Australia last summer.

The biggest of those stars, Rashid will be available to Adelaide as a first-round retention pick for this summer, and would be expected to be kept by the franchise as their platinum selection.

It is likely Rashid would feature in at least the first seven games for the Strikers, before the South African T20 League begins on January 10 with the Afghan already signed on for.

Rashid first made his name in Australia as a 19-year-old when he was the leading wicket-taker in 2017-18, claiming 18 scalps to help spin the Strikers to their first title.

Popular worldwide, Rashid is easily the Big Bash League's most marketable overseas star.

His 98 wickets are the most of any overseas player, while an average of 17.51 and economy rate of 6.44 are also the best of any bowler with more than 30 scalps.

Elsewhere, Dubai-based officials have confirmed the lucrative ILT20 will begin on January 19 next year, allowing the majority of the BBL's overseas stars to see out the majority of the Australian regular season.

David Warner is among those to have signed up for the competition, however he would only be able to play if cleared by CA and in matches that do not clash with BBL or national commitments.