The Australian cricket board announced on Thursday that a planned Test match against Afghanistan’s men’s squad will be cancelled if the Asian country’s Taliban rulers refuse to allow women to participate in the sport.
According to SBS, a Taliban spokesman stated that women should not be permitted to play cricket because it is “not required” and it would be against Islam if female players were to be “uncovered.”
Cricket Australia (CA) stated that growing women’s cricket was “extremely important” to the organization.
“Our aim for cricket is that it is a sport for everyone, and we unequivocally support the game for women at all levels,” CA stated.
“If recent media accusations that women’s cricket in Afghanistan would not be supported are true, Cricket Australia will have no choice but to refuse to host Afghanistan for the proposed Test match in Hobart.”
On November 27, Australia was set to host their first-ever Test match against Afghanistan, and CA announced last week that preparations for the one-off match were well underway.
According to SBS, the deputy head of the Taliban’s culture commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, said, “I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket since it is not required for women to play cricket.”
“In cricket, people may find themselves in a scenario where their face and body are exposed. Women are not allowed to be viewed in this way in Islam. It is the media era, so there will be photos and films, and people will watch them. “Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not permit women to play cricket or other sports that expose them.”
The Taliban’s position is “very disturbing,” according to Australia’s sports minister, Richard Colbeck.
“It is wrong to exclude women from sport at any level,” he said in a statement reported by SBS.
“We call on international sports organizations, especially the International Cricket Council (ICC), to speak out against this heinous decision.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC), cricket’s worldwide governing body, expressed alarm about rumors of the ban.
The ICC Board will consider this, as well as the influence it will have on the game’s continued development, at its next meeting, according to an ICC spokeswoman.
“Despite Afghanistan’s cultural and religious barriers, considerable progress had been made in this area since Afghanistan’s admission as a full member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2017.”