Cricket Australia (CA) have pulled out of their upcoming ODI series against Afghanistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) scheduled for March after their India tour. After consulting with several stakeholders, including the Australian government, CA have decided to withdraw from the three-match rubber.
In an official statement, the cricket board addressed the decision following the Taliban government's recent announcement regarding further restrictions on women's and girls' education and employment.
The board has, on several occasions, condemned the restrictions imposed by the Taliban regime on female participation in sports since seizing control of Afghanistan in 2021.
The CA statement reads, as quoted by cricket.com.au:
"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. We thank the Australian Government for its support on this matter."
Afghanistan remain the only full-time member without a women's side and will be the only full-time member nation without a female team at the inaugural women’s U19 T20 World Cup beginning on Saturday in Benoni. CA also canceled the one-off Test against Afghanistan in Hobart in the summer of 2021.
Australia to lose ICC ODI Super League points after canceling the series against Afghanistan
With CA forfeiting their series against Afghanistan, the 30 ICC ODI Super League points on offer will go to the opposition. However, it will be of little concern to the five-time champions as they have already secured direct qualification to the 50-over World Cup in India in October.
The series against Afghanistan was to be their last in the Super League. However, they have 11 more ODIs lined up against India and South Africa combined. Australia last faced Afghanistan in a 2019 World Cup fixture in Bristol, with David Warner's unbeaten 89 earning him the Player of the Match award after their seven-wicket victory.
The Men in Yellow also overcame Afghanistan by four runs in the T20 World Cup 2022 game at the Adelaide Oval.
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