CA chief Nick Hockley: No bilateral cricket with Afghanistan till there’s ‘a level of progress’ – Viral News

Cricket Australia (CA) has reiterated that Australia will not play bilateral cricket with Afghanistan because of the Taliban government’s stance regarding the rights of women.

CA chief executive Nick Hockley said that there has been “regular dialogue” with the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on the matter, and hoped that the sides resume playing each other “sometime in the future”.

Australia have withdrawn from playing Afghanistan in a biletareal series thrice, citing “a marked deterioration in human rights for women and girls”, but have continued to face them at ICC events. In the aftermath of Afghanistan’s famous victory over Australia in the T20 World Cup last month, Usman Khawaja had said that CA’s stance was “a little bit hypocritical”.

Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan had also commented on the situation after the match, saying he wished “we could do something” to solve the problem.

“They [Afghanistan] had a fantastic tournament with phenomenal players, and they played with great passion and spirit,” Hockley said. “Regarding our bilateral matches, we have consulted extensively with stakeholders, including the Australian government, and chose to postpone our last couple of series with Afghanistan Cricket Board on human-rights grounds.

“We maintain a close relationship and regular dialogue with the Afghanistan Cricket Board, and want to see cricket thrive worldwide for both men and women. We hope for a level of progress, and continue to discuss and maintain contact with the Afghanistan Cricket Board, aiming to resume bilateral cricket against Afghanistan at some point in the future.”

On Monday, 17 Afghanistan women players, contracted by the ACB in 2020 before the Taliban takeover, wrote to the ICC asking for assistance in setting up a refugee team based in Australia. The team wants to be administered by the East Asian Cricket office in Australia, and not play under the ACB banner or be called the Afghanistan national team.

“We understand that the Afghanistan women based in Australia have written to the ICC,” Hockley said. “That’s a matter for the ICC to consider. We have meetings coming up in Colombo in July, and I’m sure it will be a topic of conversation. The Afghan women residing in Australia are engaged with the cricketing community, and they’re receiving excellent support from across the community. But it’s not something we were directly involved in.”

Exiled Afghanistan women footballers, who have resettled in Melbourne, are being supported by A League club Melbourne Victory to play as a team in Football Victoria’s third division. They even took part in the Hope Cup while awaiting official recognition from FIFA.

On being asked if there were plans to integrate Afghanistan women cricketers into the club system in Australia, Hockley said, “My understanding is that several of the players are playing for clubs in the cities in which they reside, so you have to say I think that the community here is very much supporting them.

“Any people that move and arrive in Australia are taking up the game, [and] joining cricket clubs – it’s a great way to meet people, great way to build relationships into the community. The broader cricketing fraternity has been offering their support.”

CA ‘looking forward to hosting’ Bangladesh men

Hockley also said that Australia were hopeful of hosting the Bangladesh’s men’s side in the next FTP cycle. Bangladesh last played Tests in Australia in July 2003, and a bilateral ODI series in August-September 2008.

“Bangladesh are certainly part of our next FTP cycle, and we’re very much looking forward to hosting Bangladesh,” Hockley said. “We just enjoyed an excellent women’s tour to Bangladesh ahead of the women’s T20 World Cup later this year. We were very appreciative of the excellent hospitality and welcome that the women ‘s team received.

“As far as a men’s tour [is concerned], that’s not currently part of the FTP over the next few years. But we will continue to work with all the members, [and] with the Bangladesh Cricket Board about what opportunities there can be for the following FTP.”

Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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