Cricbuzz prediction: Women’s cricket in Afghanistan: Lack of progress is a ‘problem’ for the ICC

“It’s something our board will consider at its next meeting in March,” says CEO Geoff Allardice, as Afghanistan remain only Full Member without a women’s team

Afghanistan’s continuing lack of commitment to women’s cricket has finally become a “concern” for the ICC, as the global body prepares to stage its first Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup later this week. Afghanistan are the only Full Member to not be represented at the event in South Africa, in which 16 teams are participating. Well over a year after the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, women’s cricket has not made any headway at all in the country and signs are that it won’t in the near future, compelling the ICC to take up the matter at its next board meeting in March.

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

In practice, however, nothing was done to encourage women to take up the game, even as they made formal efforts to expand the domestic fabric and bring cricket to new regions. Men’s cricket has six tournaments in all formats, from age group to senior level. However, to date no investment has been made in women’s cricket and Afghanistan is the only cricket country to retain full member status despite failing to meet any of the basic requirements.
A fully functioning women’s team.

And after the Taliban government ordered an indefinite ban on women’s college education, the outlook has dimmed recently, with ICC Director Jeff Allardyce expressing concern. “Obviously, the recent developments in Afghanistan [banning girls’ higher education] are alarming,” Allardyce said at a virtual press conference. “Our Board has been monitoring progress since the change of government. The lack of progress in Afghanistan is alarming and the Board will consider this at its next meeting in March. As far as we know, there is no activity at this time.”

Since the Taliban came to power, many women have fled or tried to leave the country. Many women used to work at the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) headquarters in Kabul but stopped coming to the office. Some have reportedly gone abroad.

Asad Ullah, who until recently was the director of the ACB, told ESPNcricinfo: “Women’s cricket in Afghanistan has always been a hot issue, and at the moment there is no solution in sight.” , the country has little pool of female players, in fact there were no women’s teams even before the Taliban came to power. It never appeared on the field because it had no real intentions or platform.

“There was no interest at all. They could definitely play if they wanted, but it was not an option for girls in Afghanistan. There are a lot of girls who left the country thinking they wouldn’t.” have the freedom to But do they play sports in Australia or elsewhere? I don’t think so. They went to a better future. Although that is their right, cricket was not popular with Afghan girls and was not encouraged.

“It is largely due to the lack of acceptance that women are dating. The ICC needs to understand the dynamics of the country, and it is not something that the ICC can enforce and governments can implement quickly. It takes time, each country acts according to its own laws. “Some things are not as open as Western societies.”

ESPNcricinfo has written to her ACB asking for an official position on women’s cricket, but has yet to receive a response.

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