Afghanistan’s Hashmatullah Shahidi said his desire not to worry his mother was the main reason he got back up after being felled by a Mark Wood bouncer in a World Cup match against England on Tuesday. Shahidi had made 24 when he took his eye off a 90 mph delivery from the fast bowler that thudded into the side of his helmet and saw him hit the turf immediately after the sickening impact. It seemed the 24-year-old was about to retire but, donning a new helmet, Shahidi carried on to top-score for Afghanistan with 76 in an otherwise lopsided 150-run loss.
“I got up early because of my mum,” Shahidi told reporters after Afghanistan’s fifth defeat in as many matches this tournament.
“I lost my father last year so I didn’t want her to hurt. My whole family was watching, even my big brother was here in the ground watching. I didn’t want them to be worried for me,” added Shahidi, with the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, also in attendance at Old Trafford.
But the fact he was allowed to ignore medical advice is bound to raise questions about how the International Cricket Council are dealing with head injuries at this World Cup. “The ICC doctors came to me, and our physios, and my helmet was broken in the middle,” Shahidi recalled.
“They just told me just, ‘let’s go’. I told them I can’t leave my team-mate at that moment. My team needed me. I carried on.
“After the match I went to the ICC doctor and talked to them. They took care of me and said it will be fine, Inshallah (god willing).”
Afghanistan team official, Naveed Sayeh, confirmed Shahidi had acted against advice in batting on. “The doctors told him, ‘please come off’ and to leave the ground. He told them, ‘no, I’m now OK so I’ll continue my batting’,” Sayeh said.
Tuesday’s match was tough on Afghanistan bowling star Rashid Khan, who conceded the second-most expensive figures in one-day international history with a return of 0-110 in nine overs. Yet things might have been different for the star leg-spinner had not England captain Eoin Morgan -- who hit a record 17 sixes in a match-winning 148 -- been dropped off Rashid on 28 when Dawlat Zadran made a mess of a catch at deep midwicket.
“It happens, for any player, so not only Rashid,” said Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib. “Everyone knows how good Rashid is.
“I think today was not his day, but it’s cricket, so sometimes you do well, sometimes this kind of stuff.”
Meanwhile, Morgan insisted England did not have a plan to target Rashid. “It certainly wasn’t deliberate,” he said. “We don’t go into any game with any preconceived ideas.
“But like all good players, you probably learn the most about yourself when your backs are against the wall.”