Australia-Afghanistan Test in November to go ahead as planned

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The historic first cricket test between Australia and Afghanistan in Hobart this November is set to go ahead as planned following reports of Taliban giving green light to the said event. Ever since the Taliban took control of the country, they banned most forms of entertainment, including many sports, and stadiums were used as public execution venues.

“We have got approval to send the team to Australia,” the chief executive of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, Hamid Shinwari, said. It followed by the statement of the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Admadullah Wasiq, saying that the planned fixtures of the men’s international team “will continue without interruption, and they can play with other international teams.”

The Test match, due to be played for last year but was put off due to the Covid-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions, will be Afghanistan’s first Test in Australia. “In the future, we want good relations with all countries,” Wasiq added. “When good relations are established, Afghan players can go [to Australia]and they can come here.”

Officials from the regime were present at the draft for players taking part in the Afghan Shpageeza Twenty20 competition earlier this month. Before the Australia tour, the Afghanistan team will feature in the T20 World Cup, to be held in the United Arab Emirates from October 17-November 15. However, the women’s division, which was re-started in 2020, is now unlikely to happen.

Earlier, Afghanistan Cricket Board chief executive Hamid Shinwari believes the Taliban will not allow women to play cricket. “I think it will be stopped, that is my assumption. I really don’t know what will be the position in the future,” Shinwari said. The last time the Taliban was in power, women in Afghanistan were not allowed to attend school or leave their house unless accompanied by a male relative.

Meanwhile, a Cricket Australia spokesman said planning for the Test match is “well underway” despite the turmoil in Afghanistan. “There is goodwill between CA and the Afghanistan Cricket Board to make the match happen, which immediately follows the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE in which the Afghanistan team is due to play,” the spokesman said.

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