International Cricket

Afghanistan to Australia – T20I series postponement – don’t succumb to ‘external pressures, political influences’

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has expressed its “disappointment” over Cricket Australia (CA) postponing yet another scheduled bilateral series between the two sides.

“The ACB urges the Australian government not to impose its policies on cricket boards, and instead focus on supporting the development of cricket across regions”, the statement said. “ACB’s top management had previously engaged in negotiations with Cricket Australia, and proposed exploring alternative solutions instead of publicly announcing withdrawals.”

The latest development came on Tuesday when, after consultations with the Australian government, CA announced that Australia wouldn’t be taking part in the three-match T20I series at a neutral venue because of “a marked deterioration in human rights for women and girls” in Afghanistan.

This is the third time Australia have pulled out of bilateral engagements with Afghanistan, even though the series were inked into the ICC’s future tours programme.

Australia’s reasons, like on previous occasions, had to do with human rights issues in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s takeover of the country’s government: they had earlier postponed the first Test between the teams in 2021 and an ODI series in 2023.

The ACB statement mentioned that the now-postponed T20I series “was approved by the ICC in the presence of the CA delegation, who had agreed to the fixtures at the time”. In the strongly worded statement, the ACB urged “Cricket Australia to respect and understand its position as a Full Member nation, and look for alternative solutions rather than succumbing to external pressures and/or political influences”.

The board reiterated its stance “on neutral and politics-free cricket across the globe”, and said it was even open to negotiations to ensure cricket remained “free from political influence”.

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