Afghanistan slam Australia’s ‘pathetic’ boycott of ODI tour

A political row has erupted between the cricketers and cricket boards of Afghanistan and Australia following Australia’s “pathetic” decision to withdraw from an ODI tour due to the Taliban’s treatment of women.

Australia and Afghanistan were scheduled to play three ODIs on neutral territory in the United Arab Emirates in March but Cricket Australia (CA) scrapped the series after “extensive consultation”, including talks with the Australian government.

This has provoked a furious response from the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), who released a spicy 450-word statement that condemned the “pathetic, unfair and unexpected” decision from Australia, but did not mention women or women’s cricket.

They were joined by their players, including captain Rashid Khan, who threatened to cease playing in the Big Bash League, where he has been a star draw for Adelaide Strikers since 2017. His team-mate Naveen-ul-Haq, who has played for Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder, went one step further, confirming that he is boycotting the ailing competition.

This is not the first time CA have withdrawn from fixtures against Afghanistan due to the Taliban’s influence. In 2021, CA cancelled the first men’s Test match between the countries, slated to be played in Hobart, because women did not have equal access to the sport in the country following the Taliban’s seizure of power in August that year.

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