The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday said that it is “concerned” to note the recent development regarding women’s cricket in Afghanistan, where reports have emerged suggesting that women will no longer be allowed to take part in the sport under the new Taliban regime. According to news agency ANI, an ICC spokesperson said that the apex cricketing body is monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and is concerned about the recent media reports that women will not be allowed to play cricket in the country. The spokesperson confirmed that the ICC, in its next board meeting, will discuss the latest development in Afghanistan and what impact it will have on the game.
“The ICC is committed to the long-term growth of women’s cricket and despite the cultural and religious challenges in Afghanistan, steady progress has been made in this area since Afghanistan’s admission as a Full Member in 2017. The ICC has been monitoring the changing situation in Afghanistan and is concerned to note recent media reports that women will no longer be allowed to play cricket,” the ICC said in its statement.
Cricket Australia sends stern warning to Taliban
Earlier, Cricket Australia had said that it will cancel its proposed bilateral Test match against Afghanistan if the women in the country are banned from playing the sport. “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,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.
The reports that women’s cricket will no longer be supported in Afghanistan emerged after the Taliban government spokesperson Ahmadullah Wasiq told an Australian broadcaster SBS News that the Sharia Law doesn’t permit women to play any kind of sports where they get exposed. Wasiq said the women might face a situation where their face or body is exposed while playing cricket, adding “Islam does not allow women to be seen like this”.
On August 15, the Taliban overthrew Ashraf Ghani’s democratically elected government in Kabul. Following their seizure of the country’s resources, the Taliban stated that Sharia Law would be implemented throughout Afghanistan and that people would be forced to live according to their interpretation of Islam. Women and men were not allowed to participate in any sports or forms of entertainment under the Taliban’s prior regime, which ended with the US invasion in 2001. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan last month, they promised a modern system but only displayed support for the Afghan men’s national cricket team.