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ICC to determine future of Afghanistan cricket

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By Hamza Ameer

Kabul, Nov 18 (IANS) Amid uncertain conditions and circumstances in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover and reluctance of international community towards the country’s recognition, the future of sports, especially cricket has come under the dark clouds.

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With the Taliban-led interim government setup making it clear that women will not be allowed to participate in any sport including cricket, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has set up a working group to determine the future of the game in Afghanistan.

The world governing body stated that the newly formed board will be discussing the situation in Afghanistan and its impact on Afghanistan’s cricket, which will not be seeing the formation of a women cricket team in the future, a compliance required by the ICC for any team to be part of its recognized cricket playing nation.

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The Afghan men cricket team has made an impact on international cricket but under the current situation, it faces a major risk of global isolation, something that is already being faced by the country since the Taliban takeover in August this year.

The major issue that pertains to Afghanistan cricket is the prohibition of women to take part in sporting activities, which includes cricket.

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This was the reason for Cricket Australia to postpone the men’s test match against Afghanistan, scheduled to be played in Hobart.

Cricket Australia maintained that they would not play cricket with Afghanistan if the new Taliban government did not allow women to play the sport.

The ICC maintains that it intents to support Afghanistan Cricket to progress ahead in the sport.

“The ICC Board is committed to continuing to support Afghanistan Cricket to develop both men’s and women’s cricket moving forward,” ICC Chairman Greg Barlay.

“We believe the most effective way for this to happen will be to support our member in its effort to achieve this through its relationship with the new government.”

On the other hand, Chairman of Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Mirwais Ashraf said: “Cricket is a source of aspirations, elation and hope for 35 million Afghans. We are committed to maintain effective relationships with our new government, the ICC and other cricketing nations.

“We are working to provide full assistance and assurance to the ICC Board and its working group for Afghanistan about the situation in ACB.”

The Taliban leadership claims they do not plan on repeating any harsh rule that were in practice during their previous time of ruling, a claim that is yet to be implemented on ground, especially in relation to women rights and right to employment.

The ICC has opting for the wait and watch policy for Afghanistan and will now be seeking recommendations from its working board to see whether Afghanistan can continue as a full member to ICC or not.



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