Women’s cricket in Afghanistan – ICC CEO Geoff Allardice concerned by lack of development


Afghanistan’s continued lack of commitment to women’s cricket has finally become a “concern” for the ICC as the global body prepares to host its maiden Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup later this week. Afghanistan is the only Full Member not to be represented at the event in South Africa, with 16 teams participating. More than a year after the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, women’s cricket has made no progress in the country and there are indications that it will not in the near future, forcing the ICC to take up the matter at its next board. Used to be. meeting in March.

The global governing body had formed a working group to review cricket in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country in 2021. The group, headed by ICC deputy chairman Imran Khawaja, met Afghanistan government and cricket officials in November last year, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said. The government reportedly reiterated its commitment to abide by the ICC constitution, including agreeing in principle to support the development of women’s cricket.

But nothing has really been done to encourage women to take up the game, even as they make formal attempts to expand their domestic structures and take cricket into new territories. There are six tournaments across all formats of men’s cricket ranging from age group to senior level. But so far, no investment has been made in women’s cricket, and Afghanistan is the only cricketing nation to have full member status without meeting one of its basic requirements: a fully active women’s team.

And prospects have recently turned bleak when the Taliban regime ordered an indefinite ban on university education for girls, which according to ICC CEO Geoff Allardyce, is worrying.

“Obviously, recent developments [banning higher education for girls] Allardice said during a virtual press conference, there is a matter of concern in Afghanistan. “Our board has been monitoring progress since the regime change. It is a matter of concern that progress is not being made in Afghanistan and our board will consider this at its next meeting in March. As far as we know There is currently no activity.”

Since the Taliban took power, many women have fled the country – or are seeking to leave. Several women were working at the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) headquarters in Kabul, but now they are not coming to the office. Many have reportedly gone abroad.

Recently, Asad Ullah, an ACB director, told ESPNcricinfo, “Women’s cricket in Afghanistan has always been a burning issue and I don’t think there is a solution right now.” “There will be a cultural challenge and we hardly have a pool of players in the country. In fact, there was never even a women’s team before the Taliban came to power. A handful of girls used to play cricket within their household. It was a recreational activity. It never came to fruition as there was no real intention or platform.

“There has been no interest. Of course they can play, if they want to, but in Afghanistan, it was not an option for girls. There are a significant number of girls who left the country thinking they would not play ” Freedom to play sports. But are they playing the game in Australia or somewhere else? I do not think so. They went for a better future which is their right but cricket is not popular among girls in Afghanistan anyway and it isn’t encouraged either.

“It is largely due to the lack of acceptance about women going out. The ICC needs to understand the dynamics in the country and it is not something they can implement and the government can implement immediately. It takes time.” Every country works within its own laws. There are some things that are not as open as Western societies.”

ESPNcricinfo has written to the ACB seeking their official stand on women’s cricket but is yet to receive a response.



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