Cricket Australia to scrap Afghan Test after 'appalling' Taliban move

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Afghan cricket star Rashid Khan may not play against Australia with the historic Test between the two nations in doubt after the Taliban's return to power.
The likes of Afghanistan cricket star Rashid Khan are increasingly unlikely to come to Australia for a historic Test match, with Sports Minister Richard Colbeck not wanting to support the Taliban, following a blanket ban on women's sport. Pictures: Getty Images

Cricket Australia has announced plans to cancel a historic Test match against Afghanistan over the Taliban's ban on women playing sport.

On Wednesday, a senior member of the Australian government called on world cricket to take action against the now Taliban-led Afghanistan.

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The new Taliban government is still establishing itself following the withdrawal of Coalition forces from the Middle-Eastern nation beginning in August.

The upheaval and return to Taliban rule in Afghanistan has placed the historic Test match against Australia into serious doubt, with Sports Minister Richard Colbeck urging cricketing nations to stand up to the regressive government.

The Australia-Afghanistan Test is scheduled for Bellerive Oval in Hobart in November, but if the match goes ahead it will be seen as supporting the Taliban's stance.

The Taliban's act of issuing a blanket ban on all women's sport was labelled 'appalling' by Mr Colbeck, who said he would be 'urging international sport authorities, including the International Cricket Council, to take a stand against this appalling ruling'.

"The Taliban's attitudes towards women and their individual rights should not be accepted by the international sporting community," Colbeck told the ABC

"Excluding women from sport at any level is unacceptable."

Colbeck said Afghan athletes would "remain welcome in Australia, but not under the flag of the Taliban".

A spokesman for the Taliban's cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq told SBS News on Wednesday women who played cricket might expose their face and bodies.

"Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed," he told SBS.

In an update on Thursday, Cricket Australia announced the Test match would not be going ahead in light of the situation.

"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 Hobart," the statement read.

"We thank the Australian and Tasmanian Governments for their support on this important issue."

Future of Afghanistan cricket uncertain amid Taliban takeover

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive Hamid Shinwari told Reuters the future of the women's game in the country was clouded.

"So far, we don't have any news from the government," he said.

"Its future will be decided by the new government.

"We are still in an emergency state in the country. Whenever we get to a normal state, that decision will be made."

The futire of cricket in Afghanistan is cloudy following the Taliban's recent return to power in the Middle Eastern nation. (Xinhua/Rahmatullah Alizadah via Getty Images)
The futire of cricket in Afghanistan is cloudy following the Taliban's recent return to power in the Middle Eastern nation. (Xinhua/Rahmatullah Alizadah via Getty Images)

The Afghan women's squad was quietly disbanded amid safety concerns a few years after it was formed in 2010 but the ACB revived the team last year and gave contracts to 25 players.

Shinwari said the ACB's popular program for girls had already been paused, but men's cricket was allowed to continue.

Tasmania premier Peter Gutwein flagged concerns about the match proceeding in light of reports emanating from Afghanistan.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said it was an "extremely challenging and complex situation."

With AAP

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