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Friday, May 24, 2024  
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Cricket Australia scraps Afghanistan T20s, citing worsening women’s rights

It is the third time since 2021 that Australia has refused to play Afghanistan outside of international tournaments
Rashid Khan is Afghanistan’s best known player. AFP
Rashid Khan is Afghanistan’s best known player. AFP

Australia on Tuesday postponed a men’s Twenty20 international series against Afghanistan later this year, saying the situation for women in the Taliban-ruled country was not acceptable.

Cricket Australia said it had received advice “that conditions for women and girls in Afghanistan are getting worse” and so had taken a decision to “postpone” the three-match series scheduled in August at a neutral venue.

Cricket has surged in popularity inside Afghanistan in recent years, fuelled by sporadic triumphs over bigger nations on the international stage.

But under the Taliban’s brand of Islamic rule, women remained effectively barred from the game.

Cricket Australia said its stance continued a “strong commitment to supporting participation by women and girls in cricket around the world”.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Cricket Australia said it will “work closely with the ICC and the Afghanistan Cricket Board to resume bilateral matches in the future.”

It is the third time since 2021 that Australia has refused to play Afghanistan outside of international tournaments.

Cricket Australia first cancelled a one-off Test in November 2021, months after the Taliban swept back into power.

In 2023, officials pulled out of a three-match one-day series scheduled to be played on neutral ground in the United Arab Emirates.

The Taliban took control of the country in August 2021, renaming it the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and installing an interim government they said would rule according to sharia.

Teenage girls have been banned from attending most secondary schools and women barred from universities, prompting global outrage.

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