Australia withdraw from ODI series versus Afghanistan: Here's why
Australia have withdrawn from the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan in March in the UAE. Cricket Australia took the major decision due to Afghanistan's Taliban-led government's stand on women and girls' education and employment. Taliban's restriction on female participation in sports was condemned by CA. Notably, Australia will lose 30 ICC ODI Super League points to Afghanistan for backing out. Here are further details.
Why does this story matter?
- Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in September 2021 and immediately imposed restrictions on women's participation in sports.
- Afghanistan, hence, remain the only ICC full-member nation without a women's team.
- No Afghanistan-based team will feature in the inaugural Women's Under-19 T20 World Cup as well, starting January 14.
- CA, in 2021, called off a historic one-off Test versus Afghanistan due to the same reason.
What did Cricket Australia say?
Although CA has pulled out, the board anticipates improvement in the Afghanistan government's stance on women's sports. "CA is committed to supporting growing the game for women and men around the world," the CA statement read. "(The Australian cricket board) will continue to engage with the ACB in anticipation of improved conditions for women and girls in the country," the CA statement read.
ICC to look into the matter
Meanwhile, ICC CEO Geoff Allardice recently stated that the Taliban's stance is "concerning" and the same would be discussed at its next meeting. "Our board has been monitoring progress since the change of regime," Allardice said as per cricket.com.au. "It is a concern that progress is not being made in Afghanistan and it's something our board will consider at its next meeting in March."
Australia to lose Super League points
As mentioned, Australia's withdrawal would see them hand Afghanistan 30 ODI Super League points. Notably, the Afghanistan series was the Aussies' last assignment in the ongoing cycle. However, Pat Cummins' men don't have much to worry about as they have already secured automatic qualification to the ODI World Cup in India in October by being one of the top eight ranked nations.
Australia's ODI assignments before WC
Meanwhile, Australia now have 11 ODIs before the ODI World Cup in October-November. They will play three ODIs (from March 17-22) in India. In August-September, the Aussies will tour South Africa for five ODIs. Before the WC, the Men in Yellow will play three more ODIs in India. None of these games will be part of the ODI Super League.