Afghan cricket: Australia will cancel men’s test if women’s team is banned


Afghan girls playing cricket at a school in Herat in 2013
Scenes like this at a school in Herat in 2013 may not be allowed under Taliban rule in Afghanistan

Cricket Australia (CA) will cancel its men’s test match with Afghanistan if reports that the women’s team cannot play under Taliban rule are true.

On Wednesday, the International Cricket Council said it was concerned by the comments of the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural committee, Ahmadullah Wasiq.

“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket,” the friend told Australia’s SBS News.

The CA said it “unequivocally supports the game” for women at all levels.

They added, “If recent media reports that women’s cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are proven to be true, then Cricket Australia will have no alternative but not to host Afghanistan for the proposed test match scheduled for Hobart.”

Australia was due to host its first-ever Test against Afghanistan from November 26 ahead of the Ashes series with England, which begins on December 8.

The men’s team has already received support from the Taliban – but according to ICC rules, all 12 members must have a women’s national team, with only full members able to play trial matches.

The ICC expressed its concerns after Wasiq said: “I do not think that women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary for women to play.

“In cricket they may encounter a situation where their faces and bodies will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to see like that.”

A statement from the ICC said the organization is “committed to the long-term growth of women’s cricket and despite the cultural and religious challenges in Afghanistan, steady progress has been made in this area since Afghanistan joined as a full member in 2017.”

The statement continued: “The International Criminal Court has been monitoring the changing situation in Afghanistan and is concerned to note recent media reports that women will no longer be allowed to play cricket.

“This, and the impact that this will have on the continued development of the game, will be discussed by the ICC Board of Directors at its next meeting.”

The Taliban appointed a new government on Tuesday, three weeks after regaining power, but doubts remain over the rules of the system.

“So far we don’t have any news from the government,” Hamid Shinwari, chief executive of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, said in a phone interview with SBC and Reuters.

Last week, BBC Sport reported how many The women’s team is hiding in Kabul, claiming that members of the Taliban had already come looking for them.

When the Taliban last ruled Afghanistan two decades ago, girls were not allowed to go to school and women were prevented from working and teaching.

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