Cricket Australia Cancelled ODI Series against Afghanistan in March

Cricket Australia has always been in view that both Men’s and Women’s cricket should prosper accordingly and due to the restrictions from the Afghanistan-ruled Taliban government the Afghanistan Cricket Board has not been able to work on Women’s Cricket structure for the past 2 to 3 years even after multiple reminders from the International Cricket Council. 

After consultation with the Australian Government, CA decided to withdraw from the series which was part of the ICC Super League after the tour of India. The Australia tour of UAE for the three ODI series is canceled as announced in a press release issued today by Cricket Australia after the Taliban government announced banning university education for girls. 

The statement from Cricket Australia regarding this scenario is as follows.

Following extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the Australian Government, Cricket Australia has decided that it is unable to proceed at this time with the upcoming ICC Super League three-match Men’s ODI series between Australia and Afghanistan scheduled for the UAE in March 2023.

This decision follows the recent announcement by the Taliban of further restrictions on women’s and girls’ education and employment opportunities and their ability to access parks and gyms.

CA is committed to supporting growing the game for women and men around the world, including in Afghanistan, and will continue to engage with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in anticipation of improved conditions for women and girls in the country.

We thank the Australian Government for its support on this matter. 

Cricket Australia Official Statement

International Cricket Council is also raising its concerns over this hugely disappointing situation going on in Afghanistan and they issued a brief statement on this matter which is mentioned below.

We want to see men and women safely playing cricket in Afghanistan and have consistently held the view that the best way to achieve this is by supporting our Member, the Afghanistan Cricket Board, in its endeavors to develop the game in the country. We are concerned by recent developments in Afghanistan and the ICC board will consider the implications of these developments at its next meeting and we remain in contact with other global sporting organizations who share our aim of seeing men and women playing sports in Afghanistan.

ICC Official Statement

This is the 2nd time Cricket Australia has backed out from the bilateral series against Afghanistan due to the strict restrictions on Women in Afghanistan. Last time, CA canceled a one-off test match for the same reason that was scheduled to be played in Hobart in November 2021.

Afghanistan Pacer Naveen-ul-Haq quits BBL 2022/2023

Once the pacer Naveen from Afghanistan came to know about the decision of Cricket Australia, he immediately went on to his Twitter account to express his disappointment and announced to immediately pulls out from Big Bash League in which he was currently playing for Sydney Sixers and took 2 wickets as well in the games he played so far. Below is the official tweet that Naveen did after the strong decision taken by Cricket Australia. 

One can understand of frustration of Naveen, but I believe he should have taken a better approach rather than immediately pulling out from the league as it causes issues for the team to find a replacement for a player when the league is already reaching the final stages of the tournament. 

Impact on Future Tours?

It is currently unclear whether Cricket Australia will go on for their future tour program related to Afghanistan as they are scheduled to play three T20Is at a neutral venue in August 2024 while Afghanistan is also scheduled to tour Australia in August 2026 to play one Test and three T20Is. One can only hope that the situation in Afghanistan improves in the coming years and the scheduled tours get a go-ahead without any issues. 

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