The International Cricket Council is “concerned” for the future of women’s cricket in Afghanistan after the Taliban indicated it might be banned.
The deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission Ahmadullah Wasiq doesn’t think women will be allowed.
Wasiq told Australian broadcaster SBS News it is not seen as “necessary” for women to play sport.
“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket. It is not necessary that women should play,” he said.
In response to Wasiq’s broadcast, the ICC issued a statement saying: “The ICC is committed to the long-term growth of women’s cricket and despite the cultural and religious challenges in Afghanistan, steady progress had been made in this area since Afghanistan’s admission as a full member in 2017.
“The ICC has been monitoring the changing situation in Afghanistan and is concerned to note recent media reports that women will no longer be allowed to play cricket. This and the impact it will have on the continued development of the game will be discussed by the ICC board at its next meeting.”
The Taliban named a new government on Tuesday, three weeks after reclaiming power, but there is still some uncertainty over some of the regime’s rules.
“So far, we don’t have any news from the government,” Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive Hamid Shinwari said in a telephone interview with SBC and Reuters.
The men’s team have already received support by the Taliban, but the exclusion of the women’s team could yet affect the future of the men’s international team.
Under ICC rules, all 12 full members must have a national women’s team, with only full members able to play Test matches.
This could jeopardise the men’s team’s Test match against Australia in November.
Last week, BBC Sport reported how many of the women’s team are in hiding in Kabul, claiming members of the Taliban have already come looking for them.
When the Taliban last ruled Afghanistan two decades ago, girls were not allowed to attend school and women were banned from work and education.”We have fought for our religion so that Islam is to be followed. We will not cross Islamic values even if it carries opposite reactions. We will not leave our Islamic rules,” added Wasiq.