Australia to cancel men’s Test match with Afghanistan if Taliban ban women’s cricket

SYDNEY: Australia’s cricket board said on Thursday it will scrap a planned Test match against the Afghanistan men’s team if the Asian country’s Taliban rulers do not allow women to play the sport.

Australian broadcaster SBS quoted a Taliban representative as saying he did not think women would be allowed to play cricket because it was “not necessary”.

Cricket Australia (CA) said driving the growth of women’s cricket was “incredibly important” to the board.

“Our vision for cricket is that it is a sport for all and we support the game unequivocally for women at every level,” CA said.

“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.”

Australia were scheduled to host their first-ever Test against Afghanistan on November 27 and CA said last week planning was well under way for the one-off match.

“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket,” SBS quoted the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, as saying.

Australia’s sports minister Richard Colbeck said the Taliban’s position was “deeply concerning”.

“Excluding women from sport at any level is unacceptable,” he said in a statement carried by SBS.

“We urge international sport authorities, including the International Cricket Council (ICC), to take a stand against this appalling ruling.” - Reuters/ AFP