The Australian cricket team has pulled out of an upcoming three-match ODI against Afghanistan because of the strict restrictions imposed by the Taliban on the women of the country. The Australian team was to play Afghanistan in UAE in March, but now the tournament has been cancelled.
In a statement, Cricket Australia said that it cannot proceed with the tour at this time following consultation with the Australian government.
"Following extensive consultation with the relevant stakeholders, including the Australian government, Cricket Australia has decided that it is unable to proceed with this time with the upcoming ICC Super League three-match Men's ODI series between Australia and Afghanistan," the statement read.
Cricket Australia is committed to supporting growing the game for women and men around the world, including in Afghanistan, and will continue to engage with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in anticipation of improved conditions for women and girls in the country. pic.twitter.com/cgQ2p21X2Q— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) January 12, 2023
Australia and Afghanistan have played only four matches so far, included three ODIs and one T20I in Australia last year. Afghanistan has lost all the matches against Australia till now.
Not the first time: This isn't the first time, Cricket Australia has backed out from a cricket series against Afghanistan. In November 2021 too, the association had withdrawn from the Test series against Afghanistan to be played in Tasmania over Taliban banning sports for women in the country.
Taliban's restrictions on women: Ever since the hardline Islamist group took over the country in August 2021, it has imposed several curbs on women of the country. From barring secondary education to entry in parks on certain days, Taliban has drawn strict lines for women.
Australian Sports Minister welcomes the move: Reacting to the Cricket Australia's decision to opt out from the tournament against Afganistan, Australian Sports Minister Anika Wells said that she welcomes the move.
The Australian Government welcomes @CricketAus’s decision to withdraw from the upcoming men’s One Day International series against Afghanistan, following the Taliban’s increased suppression of women and girls’ rights. https://t.co/UcN5aMOcNN— Anika Wells MP (@AnikaWells) January 12, 2023
Taliban continues curbs on women: Unmoved by the international criticism the group has been receiving for its treatment against women, the Taliban has been very strict over the rights of women.