Taliban’s recent decision to ban women’s cricket in Afghanistan has got the fate of men’s cricket in jeopardy. The country was set to face Australia in a historic Test in Hobart but Cricket Australia (CA), who’s always working hard towards the growth of women’s cricket, took a stern stand and said they won’t host Afghanistan for the Test if the women of the country are not allowed to play the game.
A day later, Australia Test skipper Tim Paine has said that Australia can even walk out of the match against Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup. Paine said Australian cricketers are fully in support of CA’s stance of boycotting Afghanistan’s men’s team.
“I think so. I think it will be something discussed team-by-team,” he said on SEN sports radio when asked if nations would take stand at the tournament. “To see them pull of the tournament or have countries boycott it will literally, I think, be something that teams will discuss on the eve of that World Cup.
“We’ve heard literally no comment from the ICC so it will be interesting to see where that lands,” he added. “If teams are pulling out of playing against them and governments are not letting them travel to our shores, how a team like that can be allowed to play in an ICC-sanctioned event is going to be very hard.”
Paine’s comments come after Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan stepped down from his post immediately after Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) announced the squad for the T20 World Cup. The likes of Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Mohammad Shehzad, who’ve not played for Afghanistan for a while, have been brought back in the team for the showpiece event.
Rashid said as the skipper of a national team he had the right to have his say in team selections but ACB didn’t consult him before selecting the squad which is why he is quitting his role.
“The selection committee and ACB (Afghanistan Cricket Board) have not obtained my consent for the team which has been announced by ACB media,” Rashid Khan said in a statement on social media.
“As the captain and responsible person for the nation I reserve the right to be part of the selection of the team. I am taking the decision of stepping down from the role as the captain of Afghanistan T20 side effective immediately.”
All-rounder Mohammad Nabi is likely to take up the role, if Afghanistan participates in the World Cup. If a country such as Australia is going to boycott Afghanistan, several other big teams are most likely to follow the same route.