Australia’s inaugural Test match against Afghanistan is as good as cancelled after Cricket Australia stated it “would have no alternative” but to scupper the game after the Taliban’s claims it will not support women’s cricket are substantiated.
“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,” A CA spokesperson said.
“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.”
The federal Minister for Sport, Richard Colbeck, had stated earlier on Thursday that the government could not support sporting contact with any nation that forbade women from playing sport.
“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.“
Colbeck had, however, suggested that Afghanistan men’s and women’s cricketers would be welcomed to play in Australia, provided they did not take the field under the flag of the Taliban.
Numerous national sporting teams have taken this approach in the past, most recently the Russian athletes at the Tokyo Olympics.
“We will welcome any individual sportswomen or men from Afghanistan, but not under the Taliban flag,” Colbeck said. “We need to work with international sporting authorities to see how we can make that work … we may seem them playing sport under a different flag, for example.”
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