Issuing a statement on Thursday, Cricket Australia has said that it will not host Afghanistan national cricket team for the upcoming Test match if the new Taliban regime ban women from playing the sport.
“If recent media reports that women’s cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are substantiated, Cricket Australia would have no alternative but to not host Afghanistan for the proposed Test Match due to be played in Hobert,” the statement read.
The CA added that the growth of women’s cricket globally was incredibly important to it. “We support the game unequivocally for women at every level,” the cricket’s governing body said.
Amid the revival of the Taliban’s government in Afghanistan, an official of the hardline group on Wednesday said that Afghan women would be banned from playing sport, including cricket–one of the most emerging games in the country.
Speaking to the the Australian broadcaster SBS, the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, emphasised that women’s sport was considered neither appropriate nor necessary for an “Islamic” country.
“In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this,” he continued, “It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate [Afghanistan] do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed.”
There are concerns about the participation of Afghanistan in the upcoming T20 World Cup. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has said that Afghanistan’s status in the international game will be discussed at their next board meeting but that is not scheduled until November.
It is interesting to note that Afghanistan stand eighth in ICC T20 teams ranking which already makes them qualified for the world cup.
According to ESPNcricinfo, Afghanistan is the only Full Member to have received that status without having an operational women’s team in place. Earlier in 2020, the Afghanistan Cricket Board had announced their first contracts for women as they looked to build a team.