Newly appointed chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), Azizullah Fazli told Reuters that they are committed to promoting the women’s game in the country and is optimistic that their one-off test against Australia in November will be played.
The ACB is wary of being isolated after Cricket Australia (CA) has threatened to scrap the one-off test against the Afghanistan men’s team if the Taliban regime in the country bans women from playing the sport.
The Australian cricket board said that driving the growth of women’s cricket was very important but Fazli said the communication from the CA was a result of a misunderstanding between the two boards and it is being cleared up. He added by saying that he talked with the CA and that the issue regarding the test match will be resolved.
This dispute was sparked when a representative of the Taliban spoke to the Australian broadcaster SBS. In regards to women’s cricket, that representative said that he doesn’t think it will be allowed as it would not be “necessary” and will be against the tenets of Islam.
Since then, not only the board but the Test Captain of Australia, Tim Paine also suggested last week that other teams may refuse to play against Afghanistan in the upcoming T20 World Cup. This will also be discussed by the governing International Cricket Council (ICC) at its next board meeting in November.
Fazil, who returned as the ACB chairman last month in the first major cricketing development in the country since the Taliban took over has said that he is still waiting for instructions, in regards to the issue of women’s cricket.
Fazli has said that there has been no official government communication to them regarding this issue but they are still are committed to maintaining and supporting women cricket. About the World Cup, he has said that there is no threat to their participation and they already have started preparation camps for the tournament. He added that their relations with other full members are also good.
The ACB already was in an awkward position due to ace spinner Rashid Khan stepping down as the captain of the T20 World Cup due to his non-involvement in the selection of the World Cup Squad. He was replaced by all-rounder Mohammad Nabi as the captain.