The International Cricket Council has set up a working group to determine the future of the game in Afghanistan under the Taliban government.
Afghanistan’s remarkable rise in cricket in recent years has been the sport’s biggest adventure story, but the war-torn nation risks international isolation following the country’s takeover of the Taliban in August.
Cricket Australia has postponed a one-off test for men against Afghanistan in Hobart, which was scheduled for later this month if the new government in Kabul did not allow women to play 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.
“We believe that the most effective way for this to happen will be to support our member in its efforts to achieve this through its relationship with the new government.”
Taliban officials have said they will not repeat the harsh rule of the former Taliban government, which banned most girls’ education and banned women from going out in public without a male guardian.
The Taliban received global condemnation in September when it allowed boys to return to the classroom but told older girls to stay home until conditions allowed their return. Although no official decision has been made on the matter, girls have since returned to school in some areas of the country.
“Cricket is a source of hope, enthusiasm and hope for 35 million Afghans. We are committed to maintaining effective relations with our new government, the ICC and other cricket nations,” said Mirwais Ashraf, chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), in a statement. statement on Twitter.
“We are working to provide full assistance and assurance to the ICC Board and its Working Group on Afghanistan on the situation in the ACB.”
The ICC has taken a wait-and-see approach to whether Afghanistan could continue as a full member – allowing the country to play test matches – and the issue came up during the board meeting in Dubai at the end of the Twenty20 World Cup last week.
“Cricket is fortunate to be able to influence positive change in Afghanistan with the national 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 added.
“We should protect that status and continue to try to influence change through the ACB, but we will continue to monitor the situation closely and make any decisions accordingly.”
Among other decisions, the ICC also appointed former India captain and current chief executive Sourav Ganguly as chairman of its cricket committee, replacing the big spin-bowling big Anil Kumble, whose maximum nine-year term ended this month.