DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The ICC will review cricket in Afghanistan following the takeover of the country by the Taliban and a reported ban on women participating in the sport.
“The ICC Board is committed to continuing to support Afghanistan Cricket to develop both men’s and women’s cricket moving forward,” ICC chairman Greg Barclay said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We believe the most effective way for this to happen will be to support our Member in its efforts to achieve this through its relationship with the new government.”
A new working group, which includes Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja, will carry out the review of cricket in the central Asian country.
Earlier this month, Cricket Australia postponed a scheduled one-off test against Afghanistan on Nov. 27, saying it would have “no alternative” but to scrap the historic test after reports that women’s cricket would be banned in Afghanistan.
Former Afghan international cricketer Mirwais Ashraf was appointed acting chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) last week. Ashraf is the latest person to head the board in the last four months after Azizullah Fazli replaced Farhan Yusufzai when the Taliban came into power.
Afghanistan men’s team directly qualified for the Super 12s of the recent T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates where it defeated two ICC associate members, Namibia and Scotland, but lost to New Zealand, India and Pakistan in group games.
“Cricket is fortunate to be in the position to influence positive change in Afghanistan with the national men’s team a source of great pride and unity in a country with a young population that has experienced more upheaval and change than most,” Barclay said. “We should protect that status and continue to try to influence change through the ACB but will continue to closely monitor the situation and take any decisions accordingly.”
The working group will be chaired by Imran Khwaja with Ross McCollum, Lawson Naidoo and Raja as its members.
Raja said more than one representative from Afghanistan turned up for the ICC Board meeting in the UAE, which ended on Tuesday, but the game’s governing body didn’t allow them to sit in the meeting.
“There’s a lot of infighting (in the ACB),” Raja said. “There was confusion when two-to-three representatives turned up for the meeting … the ICC then decided they can’t attend the meeting.
“It won’t affect their (ICC) funding and their cricket. The more things get stable in Afghanistan, the more their representation will get stronger.”
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