The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board on Wednesday announced to appoint a Working Group to review the status of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and cricket in Afghanistan in light of the recent governmental changes in the country.
As per a statement by the global cricket governing body, the group comprises Imran Khwaja (Chair), Ross McCollum, Lawson Naidoo and Ramiz Raja. The group will report back to the Board over the coming months.
Commenting on the development, ICC Chair Greg Barclay said: “The ICC Board is committed to continuing to support Afghanistan Cricket to develop both men’s and women’s cricket moving forward. We believe the most effective way for this to happen will be to support our members in their efforts to achieve this through its relationship with the new government.”
“Cricket is fortunate to be in the position to influence positive change in Afghanistan with the national men’s team a source of great pride and unity in a country with a young population that has experienced more upheaval and change than most. We should protect that status and continue to try to influence change through the ACB but will continue to closely monitor the situation and take any decisions accordingly,” he added.
Earlier, although the ICC had opted for a wait-and-watch approach on Afghanistan but had said that it will discuss the future of cricket in the war-torn nation nation in its board meeting in November.
After Afghanistan came under Taliban’s rule in August, the future of cricket has been uncertain with Cricket Australia (CA) recently postponing the one-off test in Hobart, was was slated to be held in November end in Brisbane.
After ousting the Afghanistan’s elected government in August this year, few senior Taliban leaders had said that Afghan women would no longer play cricket or any other sport under their regime which didn’t go well with Cricket Australia and even the ICC.
Recently, when asked if the women cricketers not being allowed to take part would result in its men’s team getting suspended, Allardice had said that the global body will not interfere in bilateral arrangements.
“Our goal is to see men and women playing cricket in Afghanistan. Our view is that the best way to achieve that is to stay closely connected with the cricket board and try to influence [things] through the cricket board. They are on a steady trajectory of development there and we would like to see that continue,” Allardice had said.
“How other members react to their bilateral arrangements with Afghanistan is up to them. We will be working through their situation at both board levels. They are the agent for developing cricket in their country,” he had added.
Many senior Australian cricketers had supported the call to cancel the one-off Test against Afghanistan following such statements while the CA has now said that they will host the match only once the situation is clearer.
Recently, the Mohhamad Nabi-led Afghanistan team bowed out of the just concluded T20 World Cup Super 12 stage after managing to win just two of their five Group 2 matches. They lost to neighbours Pakistan, India and finalist New Zealand.