ICC creates review to help women’s cricket in Afghanistan

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The ICC will review cricket in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the country and a reported ban on women’s participation in the sport.

“The ICC Board is committed to continuing to support Afghanistan Cricket to develop both men’s and women’s cricket going forward,” ICC President Greg Barclay said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We believe that the most effective way this can be done is to support our member in its efforts to achieve this through its relationship with the new government.”

A new working group, which includes the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Ramiz Raja, will conduct the review of cricket in the Central Asian country.

Earlier this month, Cricket Australia postponed a scheduled one-off test against Afghanistan on November 27, saying it would have “no alternative” other than scrapping the historic test following reports that women’s cricket would be banned in Afghanistan.

Former Afghan international cricketer Mirwais Ashraf was appointed acting chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) last week. Ashraf is the latest person to lead the board in the last four months after Azizullah Fazli replaced Farhan Yusufzai when the Taliban came to power.

Afghanistan’s men’s team qualified directly for the Super 12s in the recent T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, where it defeated two ICC associate members, Namibia and Scotland, but lost to New Zealand, India and Pakistan in group games.

“Cricket is fortunate to be able to influence positive change in Afghanistan with the national men’s team a source of great pride and unity in a country with a young population that has experienced more upheavals and changes than most,” Barclay said. “We should protect that status and continue to seek to influence change through the ACB, but we will continue to monitor the situation closely and make any decisions accordingly.”

The working group will be led by Imran Khwaja with Ross McCollum, Lawson Naidoo and Raja as members.

Raja said more than one representative from Afghanistan attended the ICC board meeting in the UAE, which ended Tuesday, but the game’s governing body did not allow them to attend the meeting.

“There are a lot of conflicts (in the ACB),” Raja said. “There was confusion when two or three representatives showed up for the meeting … The ICC then decided that they could not attend the meeting.

“It will not affect their (ICC) funding and their cricket. The more stable things become in Afghanistan, the more their representation will become stronger.”

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