KABUL: Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) CEO Hamid Shinwari on Friday asked Cricket Australia (CA) to reconsider its decision not to host its men’s team for a Test in November after the Taliban banned women from playing sport, saying such a move will only isolate the strife-torn country.
Soon after forming an interim government, the Taliban banned women from playing cricket or any others sports, casting doubts over Afghanistan men’s team Test status.
As per ICC rules, all Test playing nations must have a women’s team as well.
Cricket Australia (CA) on Thursday said that its men’s team’s season-opening Test against Afghanistan, slated to start on November 27 in Hobart, will be scrapped due if Taliban doesn’t allow women in sports.
In a statement, ACB CEO Hamid Shinwari expressed “shock and immense disappointment” at the potential cancellation of the Australia-Afghanistan Test, which it described as “sudden and unexpected.”
The ACB CEO said there is an alternative to cancelling this “significant, history making Test match”. But, instead of offering any such alternative, the ACB said it is “powerless to change the culture and religious environment of Afghanistan”.
“We ask Cricket Australia and the whole cricketing world to keep the door open for us, walk with us, do not isolate us and avoid penalising us for our cultural and religious environment,” Shinwari said.
“We accept that CA sees cricket as ‘a sport for all and we support the game unequivocally for women at every level’.
“We understand, too, why ‘if recent media reports that women’s cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are substantiated’, CA might believe they have ‘no alternative’ but to refuse to host the scheduled test match,” he said.
Shinwari said it fears that if other countries follow CA, then Afghanistan will be alienated from the cricket world and the game may cease to exist in the country.
“If the CA decides to cancel the test match and isolate the Afghan men’s national team, it will have no impact upon those cultural and religious values as they stand. The spokesman for the government has unequivocally stated this,” he said.