Australia withdraw from ODI series against Afghanistan over women ban

Australia have withdrawn from an upcoming three-match ODI series against Afghanistan to be played in the United Arab Emirates in March, citing restrictions on women’s rights in Afghanistan. 

Cricket Australia on Thursday announced that the decision to pull out of the series was taken in the wake of the Taliban’s recent announcement regarding further restrictions on women and girls’ education and employment.

“Following extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the Australian Government, Cricket Australia has decided that it is unable to proceed at this time with the upcoming ICC Super League three-match Men’s ODI series between Australia and Afghanistan scheduled for the UAE in March 2023,” the CA statement said.

“This decision follows the recent announcement by the Taliban of further restrictions on women’s and girls’ education and employment opportunities and their ability to access parks and gyms.”

“CA is committed to supporting growing the game for women and men around the world, including in Afghanistan, and will continue to engage with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in anticipation of improved conditions for women and girls in the country,” it added.

Following the withdrawal from the series, Australia will forfeit 30 points to Afghanistan in the ICC ODI Super League. however, they have already secured automatic qualification to the ODI World Cup in India in October by being one of the top eight ranked nations in the Super League.

It is worth mentioning here that this is the second time Australia have cancelled a bilateral fixture with Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of Kabul in August 2021.

Earlier they postponed the one-off Test against the side scheduled to be played in Hobart in November 2021, however, they did play Afghanistan in Adelaide during the last year’s T20 World Cup.

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