Melbourne: Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed on Friday it had postponed the landmark one-off Test match against Afghanistan in Hobart scheduled for November 27 until the situation in the war-torn nation becomes “clearer”. Under the Taliban regime, the women of Afghanistan have been barred from playing the sport. Due to this, CA in September threatened to scrap the historic Test if the Taliban government, which took power in August, did not allow women or girls to participate in the game.
Australia’s cricketing authorities said that after consultation with “relevant stakeholders” it was decided the men’s Test, to be played in Hobart this month, would not go ahead as planned. “Following extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders, Cricket Australia and the Afghanistan Cricket Board have agreed to postpone the inaugural men’s test match against Afghanistan,” CA said in a statement.
“CA is committed to support growing the game for women and men in Afghanistan and around the world, however, given the present uncertainty, CA felt it necessary to postpone the test match until a later time when the situation is clearer.”
However, Afghan players are expected to be allowed to play in the upcoming Big Bash League season in Australia.
Afghanistan’s remarkable rise in cricket in recent years has been the sport’s biggest fairytale but the strife-torn nation risks isolation following the country’s Taliban takeover.
Afghanistan’s men are currently playing in the T20 World Cup 2021 but have been warned they face an international ban if the country fails to field a side at the upcoming women’s World Cup in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, the Afghan board has requested the support of other full members of the International Cricket Council as it looks to retain its place in global cricket.
Afghanistan’s status is set to be discussed at an ICC meeting on the sidelines of the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Cricket Australia said it looked forward to “hosting both the Afghanistan women’s and men’s team in the not too distant future”.
(With Agency Inputs)