The test match scheduled for November 27 in now unlikely to go ahead Photo: Cricket Australia

Cricket Australia is willing to cancel the test match scheduled for November 27 should the Taliban ban women's cricket in Afghanistan.

With the backing of the Australian and Tasmanian Governments, Cricket Australia announced that the test match against Afghanistan in Hobart may not proceed in light of the new Taliban Government’s decision to ban Afghan women from playing sport.

The test was due to start on November 27, however, Cricket Australia announced on Thursday morning that the test would be cancelled should the Afghan government not support women’s cricket in a statement, pledging its support to women’s cricket at every level.

“Driving the growth of women’s cricket globally is incredibly important to Cricket Australia. Our vision for cricket is that it is a sport for all and we support the game unequivocally for women at every level.
“If recent media reports that women’s cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are substantiated, Cricket Australia would have no alternative but to not host Afghanistan for the proposed Test Match due to be played in Hobart.
“We thank the Australian and Tasmanian Governments for their support on this important issue.”

Federal Minister for Sport, Richard Colbeck endorsed the decision from Cricket Australia speaking with Gerard Whateley on SEN, clarifying that Australia endorses Afghan athletes competing in Australia but not under the Taliban flag.

“We’ve made a clear statement that we don’t support excluding women from sport at any level,” Colbeck told SEN.

“Our perspective has been passed on to the ICC, and we’ve urged other global sporting authorities to take a stand.

“This is tragic for the great cricketers coming out of Afghanistan. We’ve celebrated them in the Big Bash, their women’s team only recently gained Test status. It’s deeply concerning the Taliban have taken this approach.“

“We will welcome any individual sportswomen or men from Afghanistan, but not under the Taliban flag.”We need to work with international sporting authorities to see how we can make that work… we may see them playing sport under a different flag, for example.”

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The reports regarding a women’s sports ban in Afghanistan were bolstered following comments made by the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq who described women’s sports as neither appropriate nor necessary when speaking to SBS.

“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket,” Wasiq said.

“In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this.

“It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate [Afghanistan] do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed.”

At present, the ICC has said it will be discussing Afghanistan’s status in the international game at their next board meeting set to go forward in November.

Afghanistan was previously the only Full Member to have received that status without having an operational women’s team in place and last year did take steps to build a team when the Afghanistan Cricket Board announced their first contracts for female players.

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