Taliban approve Afghanistan's first cricket Test match since takeover

Published September 1, 2021
In this 2019 file photo, Afghanistan's Rashid Khan, centre right, celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Pakistan's Haris Sohail during the Cricket World Cup match between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Headingley in Leeds, England. — AP
In this 2019 file photo, Afghanistan's Rashid Khan, centre right, celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Pakistan's Haris Sohail during the Cricket World Cup match between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Headingley in Leeds, England. — AP

The Taliban have approved Afghanistan's first cricket Test match since their takeover, raising hopes that international matches will continue as usual under the new rule.

“We have got approval to send the team to Australia,” chief executive of the Afghanistan Cricket Board Hamid Shinwari told AFP.

During their first stint in power, before they were ousted in 2001, the Taliban banned most forms of entertainment — including many sports — and stadiums were used as public execution venues.

The Taliban do not mind cricket, however, and the game is popular among many fighters.

The Test match, to be played in Hobart from Nov 27 to Dec 1, was scheduled for last year but was put off due to the Covid-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions.

It will be Afghanistan's first Test in Australia.

Before the Australia tour, the Afghanistan team will feature in the Twenty20 World Cup, to be held in the United Arab Emirates from Oct 17 to Nov 15.

Shinwari also confirmed Afghanistan's Under-19 cricket team will tour Bangladesh for a bilateral later this month.

Since the evacuation of the US and Nato forces from Afghanistan after the Taliban swept into Kabul last month, there were fears that cricket and other sports would be hit.

But ACB officials categorically said that cricket was supported by the Taliban.

Afghanistan's home ODI series against Pakistan — shifted to Sri Lanka — was however cancelled until next year over logistical and Covid-19 issues last week.

Opinion

Editorial

Course correction
Updated 24 Feb, 2024

Course correction

PTI should not abandon its power and responsibility while expecting an external stakeholder to set things right.
The plot thickens
Updated 24 Feb, 2024

The plot thickens

THE recent explosive allegations by Liaquat Ali Chattha, the former commissioner of Rawalpindi, have thrust the...
Trigger-happy police
24 Feb, 2024

Trigger-happy police

ARE the citizens of Karachi becoming fair game again? There were some grisly signs of a rapid return to living...
What next for PTI?
Updated 23 Feb, 2024

What next for PTI?

THE incoming government has been carved up. With the major offices apportioned between the PML-N and PPP, the...
Tackling debt
23 Feb, 2024

Tackling debt

MANY would tend to describe a new report warning that the country is headed for “inevitable default”, which will...
Imprisoned abroad
23 Feb, 2024

Imprisoned abroad

THE issue of Pakistani prisoners imprisoned in foreign jails crops up regularly, particularly during parliamentary...