Cricket Australia (CA) will postpone its one-off Test against Afghanistan indefinitely this week.
The development comes as CA wants the war-torn nation to “rethink” its approach towards women’s sport, Cricket Tasmania chief Dominic Baker said on Wednesday.
The Test against the Afghan men’s team was scheduled for November 27 in Hobart.
“It’ll be formally postponed indefinitely this week. That will come out in the next couple of days,” Baker was quoted as saying by local radio station Triple M.
“It’s about giving the Afghanistan government some direction around what they have to do to get back into sport. It’s not acceptable that they don’t allow female sport. If they want to play competitive male sport, particularly in the cricket sphere, they have to rethink what they do with female sport,” he added.
Baker said the match might be scheduled later as they won’t cancel the fixture.
“We’re not going to cancel it altogether,” he said.
Notably, the International Cricket Council (ICC) will discuss the status of women’s cricket in Afghanistan at its next board meeting in November.
Earlier this month, CA had issued a statement stating that it would be unable to proceed with the planned Test at Hobart from November 27 if news reports of Taliban views on the women’s game were true.
“Driving the growth of women’s cricket globally is incredibly important to Cricket Australia. Our vision for cricket is that it is a sport for all and we support the game unequivocally for women at every level,” CA had 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,” it added.
Recently, a spokesman for the Taliban government’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, had told Australian broadcaster SBS News that cricket was not permitted for women under Islamic law.
“Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed. In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this. It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it,” Wasiq had said.
He had further said that their stand on the women’s game would not change even if it leads to cancellation of the scheduled Hobart Test against Australia.
“Even for this, if we face challenges and problems, we have fought for our religion so that Islam is to be followed. We will not cross Islamic values even if it carries opposite reactions. We will not leave our Islamic rules,” he had said.
Following such comment, Australia’s Federal Sports Minister Senator Richard Colbeck has now urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take a stand against the Taliban’s position and take a decision on Afghanistan’s full membership.
Speaking with ABC Radio on Thursday, Colbeck said that no decision had been made on whether visas would be issued to Afghanistan men’s team.
“The Taliban’s attitudes towards women and their individual rights should not be accepted by the international sporting community,” he said.
“Excluding women from the sport at any level is unacceptable. We urge international sport authorities, including the International Cricket Council, to take a stand against this appalling ruling. At the end of the day, International Cricket is controlled by the ICC and it’s not just about this Test match. The ICC is going to have to make a decision about Afghanistan’s membership,” Colbeck added.
In a statement released on Wednesday night, the ICC had expressed concern over Taliban’s stand on women’s cricket.
“The ICC is committed to the long-term growth of women’s cricket and despite the cultural and relig