Cricket Australia withdraw from ODI series against Afghanistan, cite Taliban restrictions as reason

Cricket Australia have decided to withdraw from playing the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan in the United Arab Emirates in March owing to ‘concerning’ situation in Afghanistan since Taliban’s takeover in 2021. The tour was supposed to take place after the India-Australia series.

In a statement, Cricket Australia explained that the restrictions on women and girls seeking education and employment under the Taliban regime, including the Afghanistan national women’s team is the reason behind their call to not engage in a bilateral series between the two men’s sides.

“CA is committed to supporting growing the game for women and men around the world, including in Afghanistan, and will continue to engage with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in anticipation of improved conditions for women and girls in the country,” the statement said.

Taliban had seized control of Afghanistan back in September 2021 and imposed ban on female participation in sports. As it stands, Afghanistan remain the only nation with Test playing status that doesn’t have an active women’s team.

In November 2022, ICC’s Afghanistan Working Group (AWG) has conveyed to cricket’s world governing body that the country’s government has reiterated its commitment to fully respect and comply with the ICC constitution, including agreeing “in principle” to support the development of women’s cricket.

“The meeting was positive and respectful, and the [Afghanistan] government representative was clear in his support for the ICC constitution including in principle for women’s cricket in Afghanistan,” Imran Khwaja, the AWG chair had said.

“There are obviously challenges for it to resume but we will continue to work with the ACB to take this forward. The Working Group will closely monitor the commitment undertaken by the Afghanistan government and will continue to report back to the ICC Board.”

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