Afghanistan Cricket Board’s (ACB) newly appointed chairman Mirwais Ashraf has said that the women’s team will continue to play cricket. Ashraf announced the same on Wednesday during his introductory meeting with the ACB staff.
Afghanistan, the nation, has been in massive turmoil following the Taliban takeover, with the future of their women cricketers uncertain. Against that backdrop, Ashraf’s comments infuse plenty of confidence and hope, also because the International Cricket Council mandates all recognized nations to ensure women’s participation in international cricket.
“Women’s cricket is one of the major requirements of the ICC, therefore, it is committed to obtaining it,” said Ashraf, as quoted by cricwick. “Our girls will be playing cricket on a normal basis and we are looking to provide for their basic needs and all the facilities they need.”
Recent shifts in the ACB’s leadership drew criticism from the ICC and the body said it has formed “a group to assess the status of cricket in Afghanistan,” the agency said. “Every employee must stay committed to the ACB and must strive hard to do well in their own areas,” Ashraf said.
Before the forming of the workgroup to assess the situation in Afghanistan, Greg Barclay ICC chairman, had said: “There are cultural and religious reasons. It is a challenging situation. It was before August as well. All we can do is continue monitoring the situation. Hopefully, things will settle down, we’ll be able to see women’s cricket continue to grow. We accept it’s coming off a very low base, there’re cultural and religious reasons for that.
“There was slow but perceptible progress being made prior to August. We’d like to see that continue. We’re getting some messages that will be the case, that a commitment will be made to the women’s game. So, let’s just wait and see,” Barclay was quoted as saying in Cricbuzz.
The ICC’s decision had come after the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq stated women didn’t need to play cricket. “In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this. It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed,” he was quoted by Australia’s SBS TV.