Afghan women cricketers ask for international support for a refugee team

SYDNEY (AP) — A group of Afghan women’s cricketers has again approached the sport’s international governing body asking for backing to reform as a refugee team based in Australia.

The women sent a letter to the International Cricket Council in the wake of the Afghanistan men’s historic run to the semifinals of the Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean last week.

More than two dozen women who’d been in the Afghanistan Cricket Board system sought refuge in Australia in 2021 after the Taliban took over and enforced bans on women’s sports.

The group first approached the ICC in 2023 but didn’t get the outcome it needed.

Many have continued playing in domestic competitions in Australia but haven’t had access to international cricket, despite ICC regulations requiring all test-playing members to support men’s and women’s national teams.

“A profound sadness remains that we, as women, cannot represent our country like the male cricketers,” the women wrote in a letter to ICC chairman Greg Barclay, the Australian Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

“We are asking the ICC to assist us in setting up a refugee team in Australia. Through this team we aim to represent all Afghan women who dream of playing cricket but are unable to in Afghanistan.”

The letter said ICC support for the refugee team would give Afghan refugees a chance to play, coach and administer the team without borders.

“The creation of this team will allow all Afghan women who want to represent their country to come together under one banner,” the letter continued. “Our goals in having a refugee team are to develop and showcase our talent, give hope to the women remaining in Afghanistan, and to draw attention to the challenges women of Afghanistan face.

“Like the Afghanistan men’s team are afforded, we aim to compete at the highest levels.”

Cricket Australia has previously provided support to the Afghan women’s players in Australia, and has refused to play a bilateral series against the men’s team until the gender disparity is addressed.


AP cricket:

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