Newly appointed chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Mirwais Ashraf has said that his country’s women will continue playing cricket.
According to a report in the Tolo News Agency (TNA), during his introductory meeting with the ACB staffers and managers, Ashraf said that in order to remain a part of the International Cricket Council (ICC), it is imperative for the country to let Afghan women play the sport.
“Women’s cricket is one of the major requirements of the ICC, therefore, it is committed to obtaining it,” said Ashraf.
“Our girls will be playing cricket on a normal basis and we are looking to provide for their basic needs and all the facilities they need. Every employee must stay committed to the ACB and must strive hard to do well in their own areas,” he added.
Significantly, after Afghanistan came under Taliban’s rule in August this year, 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.
Last week, the ICC Board had appointed a Working Group to review the status of the ACB and cricket in Afghanistan in light of the recent governmental changes in the country.
The group comprised of Imran Khwaja (Chair), Ross McCollum, Lawson Naidoo and Ramiz Raja and is likley to report back to the Board over the coming months.
Commenting on the development, ICC Chair Greg Barclay had 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 had added.
Recently, when asked if the women cricketers not being allowed to take part would result in its men’s team getting suspended, ICC CEO Geoff 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.