Australia had been scheduled to take on Afghanistan in a three-game ODI series in the United Arab Emirates in March as part of the ICC Super League.
However, CA confirmed their decision to pull out of the series on Thursday, stating it was due to the treatment of women and girls by the Taliban, who came into power in Afghanistan in 2021 following NATO’s chaotic withdrawal from the country.
The decision for Australia to opt out of the series came after consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the Australian Government, with CA saying in a statement: “This decision follows the recent announcement by the Taliban of further restrictions on women and girls’ education and employment opportunities and their ability to access parks and gyms.”
Afghanistan T20I captain Rashid posted a response on Twitter that read: “Cricket! The only hope for the country. Keep politics out of it,” including a statement outlining his disappointment, before questioning whether Australia’s concerns should also lead to him withdrawing from the Big Bash League, where he plays for Adelaide Strikers.
— Rashid Khan (@rashidkhan_19) January 12, 2023
“I am really disappointed to hear that Australia have pulled out of the series to play us in March,” he wrote. “I take great pride in representing my country, and we have made great progress on the world stage. This decision from CA sets us back in that journey.
“If playing vs Afghanistan is so uncomfortable for Australia, then I wouldn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable with my presence in the BBL. Therefore, I will be strongly considering my future in that competition.”
The Afghanistan Cricket Board also issued a strong statement, saying it was “extremely disappointed and saddened by the pathetic statement of Cricket Australia” and adding it would “write to the International Cricket Council about the issue.”