Australia withdraw from three-match ODI series against Afghanistan after recent Taliban announcement

Jan 12 (Reuters) – Australia’s men’s team has withdrawn from their one-day international (ODI) series against Afghanistan in March following further restrictions on women’s and girls’ rights imposed by the Taliban, Cricket Australia (CA) said on Thursday.

Afghanistan’s Taliban-led administration last month imposed a ban on women attending universities. Girls have been banned from high school since March. They have also been excluded from parks and gyms.

“Cricket Australia’s decision to withdraw from upcoming matches against Afghanistan is coming after consultation and potential enforcement from the Australian Government which is an unfortunate attempt to enter the realm of politics and politicize the sport. By prioritizing political interests over the principles of fair play and sportsmanship, Cricket Australia is undermining the integrity of the game and damaging the relationship between the two nations.

“The decision to withdraw from playing the upcoming ODI series against Afghanistan is unfair and unexpected and will have a negative impact on the development and growth of cricket in Afghanistan as well as will affect the love and passion of the Afghan nation for the game.

“The recent decision by Cricket Australia to withdraw from upcoming matches against Afghanistan has caused a great deal of concern within the Afghan cricket community. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is closely monitoring the situation and is considering taking action, including officially writing to ICC and rethinking the participation of Afghan players in the Big Bash League (BBL), if the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan’s home series is not overturned.”

  • Australia was scheduled to take on Afghanistan in a three-match series in late March
  • The ICC ICC ODI Super League points which were on offer in the series will be given to Afghanistan
  • CA said that they were committed to supporting growing the game for men and women around the globe, including Afghanistan

By India Today Web Desk: The Australian cricket team forfeited their three-match ODI series against Afghanistan in the United Arab Emirates in late March after Cricket Australia decided to pull out following the Taliban’s recent announcement regarding restrictions on women’s and girls’ education and employment.

ICC ODI Super League points were on offer in the series but now all 30 points will go to Afghanistan following CA’s decision to forfeit the series.

Australia were scheduled to play a test match against Afghanistan in November 2021 but the fixture was postponed after the Taliban seized power in August of that year.

Afghanistan remain the only ICC full member nation of without a women’s team. They have continued to appear at ICC events since the Taliban takeover, however, and faced Australia during last year’s Twenty20 World Cup.

ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice has said Afghanistan’s lack of commitment to women’s cricket is a concern for the sport’s global governing body and that the matter will be discussed at its next board meeting.

“Our board has been monitoring progress since the change of regime,” Allardice said. “It is a concern that progress is not being made in Afghanistan and it’s something our board will consider at its next meeting in March. As far as we are aware, there isn’t activity at the moment.”

Cricket Australia has made the decision after the Taliban regime imposed an indefinite ban on university education for girls. Afghanistan won’t be participating in the Women’s U19 T20 World Cup which will get underway on Saturday. The Asian nation is the only ICC full-member country that doesn’t have a women’s team. “CA is committed to supporting growing the game for women and men around the world, including in Afghanistan. (We) will continue to engage with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in anticipation of improved conditions for women and girls in the country,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.

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