Cricket Australia set to call off Afghanistan Test

Published September 30, 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/File
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/File

MELBOURNE: Cricket Australia is all set to postpone the scheduled one-off maiden Test match against Afghanistan indefinitely this week to prompt the Asian nation to ‘rethink’ their approach to women’s sport, Cricket Tasmania boss Dominic Baker said on Wednesday.

The match against the Afghan men’s team was scheduled for Nov 27 in Hobart.

“It’ll be formally postponed indefinitely this week. That will come out in the next couple of days,” Baker told local radio station Triple M. “It’s about giving the Afghanistan government some direction around what they have to do to get back into sport. It’s not acceptable that they don’t allow female sport. If they want to play competitive male sport, particularly in the cricket sphere, they have to rethink what they do with female sport.”

Governing body Cricket Australia said this month it would scrap the Test after media reports the Asian country’s Taliban rulers would not allow women to play cricket. A Cricket Australia spokesman said on Wednesday no decision had been made on the fixture. Baker said the match might be scheduled later. “We’re not going to cancel it altogether,” he said.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board’s new chairman Azizullah Fazli said this month it was committed to promoting women’s cricket in the country and optimistic the Test against Australia would go ahead.

The sport’s global governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), is set to discuss the status of women’s cricket in Afghanistan at its next board meeting in November.

There is further uncertainty about Australia’s Ashes schedule over the home summer due to outbreaks of Covid-19 in southern states and England players’ reluctance to tour the country due to strict quarantine restrictions.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2021

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