Hamid Shinwari, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive, has requested Cricket Australia (CA) to take a “considered, balanced” stance regarding the recent overhaul of the Test match, which is scheduled for November in Hobart between the two nations.
CA on Thursday made it clear if the new Taliban regime doesn’t allow Afghanistan women to play cricket, then they will not be hosting Afghanistan men’s team for the one-off test.
Afghanistan are the only Full Member to have a Test team without having a women’s team. Last year, the ACB had announced their first contracts for women cricketers, but that has now been thrown out of the window since the Taliban took over.
Shinwari pointed out that the ICC “has been aware of our cultural and religious environment” in Afghanistan all these years, but “seems CA is not”.
“We believe that the ICC has had the forethought to recognise and accept that we have been doing all we can to grow cricket in the traditional cultural, religious and changing political environments of our country. The alternative to cancellation of the Test match would be for CA to take the same approach as the ICC. A considered, balanced, cricket diplomacy would be far more productive for Afghanistan and for cricket than a sudden knee-jerk reaction,” Shinwari wrote in a press statement.
He further tried to highlight the fact that the new Taliban power is “not substantially different to the ACB’s cultural and religious environment during the [democratically elected] Karzai and Ghani governments over the last 20 years.”
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is powerless to change the culture and religious environment: Hamid Shinwari
Shinwari further expressed the helplessness of the ACB. He urged that if other boards also follow CA in not playing with the Afghanistan men’s team, they would be alienated from world cricket, perhaps even get shut down.
“The ACB is powerless to change the culture and religious environment of Afghanistan. If the CA decides to cancel the Test match and isolate the Afghan men’s national team, it will have no impact upon those cultural and religious values as they stand.
“We are concerned that, if other countries’ cricket administrators follow CA, then Afghan cricket will be alienated from the cricket world, the development of cricket in our country will be stalled and, even more concerning, cricket may cease to exist in Afghanistan,” he added.
Meanwhile, further problems emerged for the ACB as Rashid Khan stepped down as the T20I captain minutes after they announced their squad for the T20 World Cup, saying that the selection committee had not taken his consent for the selected squad. Senior allrounder Mohammad Nabi will take the reins for now.
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