Cricket Australia has confirmed the postponement of this month’s scheduled one-man test against Afghanistan in Hobart until the situation in the Taliban-ruled country becomes “clearer”.
Australia’s first ever Test match against Afghanistan had been called into question after the Taliban took power, with concerns raised over the status of women’s cricket in the country.
Under Taliban rule, Afghan women would be banned from playing sports, an official in the hardline Islamist group said at the time of the change of government.
After consultation with the Afghanistan Cricket Board and other relevant stakeholders, the CA agreed to postpone the match, which was scheduled to start on November 27th.
“CA is committed to supporting the development of the game for women and men in Afghanistan and around the world, but given the current uncertainty, CA felt the need to postpone the test match to a later stage when the situation is clearer,” he said. CA in a statement released Friday.
“CA is looking forward to hosting Afghanistan players in the BBL this season, who are big ambassadors for the game, and to hosting both Afghanistan’s women’s and men’s teams in the not too distant future.”
The match was planned as an important part of Australia’s preparations for this summer’s Ashes series, which starts in Brisbane on 8 December. An expanded Australian squad will now play an internal three-day match from December 1 at Redlands in Brisbane.
England’s tournament party will also play at Redlands, with a three-day warm-up match against England Lions confirmed to begin on November 23, before a four-day match at Ian Healy Oval, also in Brisbane, starts a week later.
The five-match Ashes series begins across the city at Gabba before moving to Adelaide and then Melbourne for the traditional Boxing Day Test and Sydney in the new year.
There are still doubts about the location of the fifth and final Test scheduled to be played in Perth from January 14, given Western Australia’s strict Covid-19 rules, and that players will fly in from New South Wales .
But on Friday, after outlining the state’s reopening roadmap, Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan said he was confident the league final at Optus Stadium would continue as planned.
This is despite the fact that Western Australia’s borders are not expected to reopen for interstate travelers until a 90% double vaccination rate is reached – probably in late January or early February.
“I understand that the police and health authorities are working with Cricket Australia on all of these issues,” McGowan said. “We’ve been playing sports for the last two years, whether it’s both types of football, cricket, basketball, netball … all of these things have happened over the last two years subject to the rules.
“So it’s something that will be worked on together and we’re sure it’s going to be a good result. I’m sure we’ll be able to hold other sporting events.
“Over the last two years, police and health have introduced rules that require various forms of quarantine … and we have done so consistently and allowed all sports rules to function in a Covid-safe manner.”