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ICC waits on Taliban-led Afghanistan’s promises over women’s cricket

Afghanistan want to keep up women's cricket: ICC. (Source: Reuters)

LONDON (AFP): The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Saturday asserted that Afghanistan has communicated its intent to keep up the women’s game in the country but the council still awaits more action.

Geoff Allardice, chief executive of the ICC, said they will back cricket from the war-torn region to thrive on the global stage.  “Our goal is to see men and women playing cricket in Afghanistan,” he emphasised.   

“We’ve supported them and the team has performed at this event. You’ve seen their players in a number of events now,” the ICC chief executive told reporters in Dubai.

“In terms of how our board will consider the situation in Afghanistan at its meeting next week, they will get a report on how things are travelling,” he said, adding, “They have said to us that women’s cricket is continuing. They certainly haven’t given us an indication that it has stopped.”

“Time will tell, in terms of how that plays out. Yes, we have been in regular communication with them from the time things changed in their country,” he added.

Afghanistan’s participation in the Twenty20 World Cup 2021 was under threat after reports emerged of the new Taliban regime not allowing women to play cricket. The team impressed in the Super 12 stage before losing out in the race for the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, according to reports, cricket in the United States could be awarded a major ICC event in the next cycle starting 2024. Allardice said the ICC remains committed to expanding the game globally and holding events in countries where the sport is gaining ground.

“Taking an ICC event or a World Cup of any description to a developing cricket country has a huge impact whether it’s on facilities or awareness of the game particularly when the local team is involved,” said Allardice.

Cricket’s dream of making it to the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles got a boost early this year when the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) put aside their reluctance to join the push.

“Over the last decade, we have had various member countries expressing interest in being part of the Olympic games,” said Allardice.

“This time we have got all our members on board and are unanimous in wanting to be part of the games. I don’t pretend it will be easy to campaign and be successful with the Los Angeles organising committee and beyond that Brisbane as well,” he added.