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Australia to cancel Afghan test cricket if Taliban bans women sports

Cricket Australia has said it would have “no alternative” but to cancel hosting a historic Test match against Afghanistan unless the Taliban backtracks on a reported ban on women playing sport.

“If recent media reports that women’s cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are substantiated, Cricket Australia would have no alternative but to not host Afghanistan for the proposed Test Match due to be played in Hobart,” Australian cricket board said on Thursday.

The deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, said on Wednesday that women would not play cricket, or any other sport, under the new regime.

“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket,” Wasiq told Australian broadcaster SBS.

“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.”

READ MORE: Afghan women voice their fears about Taliban rule 

No ban on men’s cricket 

The Taliban said shortly after taking power that the schedule for the Afghanistan men’s team would not be interrupted, leading Cricket Australia to announce earlier this month it still hoped to host the landmark match on November 27.

Cricket Australia said driving the growth of women’s cricket globally was “incredibly important” to the organisation.

“Our vision for cricket is that it is a sport for all and we support the game unequivocally for women at every level,” it said.

During their first stint in power, the Taliban banned most forms of entertainment including many sports. 

United Nations says women in Afghanistan are being prohibited from leaving home without a male family member and in some areas stopped from working.

READ MORE: Afghanistan’s first cricket match greenlit since Taliban takeover

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