The Afghan Cricket Board (ACB) has called on Australia not to cancel an historic test match between the two countries set for Hobart on November 27.
Australia, a powerhouse of the sport, has never played a test match against Afghanistan, despite the International Cricket Council granting test match status to Afghanistan in 2017.
This week, Cricket Australia (CA) said it would be forced to cancel the match if the Taliban banned women from playing the sport.
In a Friday statement, ACB CEO Hamid Shinwari said cancelling the game would not change the “culture and religious values” of Afghanistan.
Shinwari noted the recent increased participation of Afghan women in cricket, but argued the Taliban’s religious opposition to women playing it was “not substantially different” to the attitudes of the Karzai and Ghani governments.
If other nations followed Australia in boycotting the Afghan team, cricket “may cease to exist in Afghanistan,” Shinwari warned.
Shinwari praised the ICC for having “the forethought to recognize and accept all we have been doing to grow cricket in the cultural, religious and changing political environments of our country” and called on CA to show the same “considered, balanced, ‘cricket diplomacy’.”
“Agreeing to host this test match would be a treasured gift to the people of Afghanistan by Cricket Australia. It would build relationships, rather than close minds,” Shinwari wrote, labelling Australia’s threat to cancel the game a “knee jerk reaction.”