Cricket Australia has warned the one-off Test against Afghanistan in Hobart will not go ahead if the Taliban do not change their position against women playing sport.
The match, which is scheduled to begin on November 27, would be the first Test between the two countries.
Ahmadullah Wasiq, a spokesman for the Taliban’s cultural commission, told SBS News on Wednesday that women who played cricket might expose their face and bodies.
“Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed,” he told SBS.
Cricket Australia responded with a statement on Thursday:
The Australian Cricketers’ Association has come out in support of CA’s stance.
“What is happening now in Afghanistan is a human rights issue that transcends cricket,” the association said in a statement.
Samim is a female Afghan cricketer who fled the country before the Taliban takeover of Kabul and is now in Canada.
Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck spoke out after Wasiq’s comments, calling on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take a stand against the Taliban, and telling the ABC: “Excluding women from sport at any level is unacceptable.”
The minister said that any decision on whether the Test match went ahead lay with Cricket Australia and the ICC, but said Afghan athletes would “remain welcome in Australia, but not under the flag of the Taliban”.
There has been no comment yet from the ICC.
Afghanistan is due to play in the men’s T20 World Cup, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman beginning on October 17.
Afghanistan received full Test status along with Ireland in 2017, but it is the only nation to achieve this without having a women’s national team in place.