Cricket Australia postpones T20I series against Afghanistan due to ‘human rights’ issues

Cricket Australia has chosen to postpone a scheduled three-match T20I series with Afghanistan due to “a marked deterioration in human rights for women and girls” in the country following consultation with the Australian government.

Australia were scheduled to play three matches against Afghanistan at a neutral venue in August as part of the current men’s Future Tours Program. But CA opted to postpone the series due to human rights issues just as they had done for the first Test match between the two nations in 2021 and a proposed ODI series in March 2023.

The decision to postpone the ODI series in 2023 saw Rashid Khan threaten to withdraw from the BBL although he backed down from that threat and entered the BBL draft before missing the tournament through injury.

CA released a statement on Tuesday stating it had consulted with the Australian government regarding the human rights conditions for women and girls in Afghanistan and had received information that there had been a “marked deterioration” in rights for women since they postponed the 2023 series.

“Over the past 12 months CA has continued to consult with the Australian government on the situation in Afghanistan,” the statement said. “The government’s advice is that conditions for women and girls in Afghanistan are getting worse. For this reason, we have maintained our previous position and will postpone the bilateral series against Afghanistan.

“CA continues its strong commitment to supporting participation by women and girls in cricket around the world and will continue to actively engage the ICC and work closely with the Afghanistan Cricket Board to determine what actions could be taken to support the resumption of bilateral matches in the future.”

Australia have played Afghanistan in two World Cup fixtures in the past two years, which drew criticism from Naveen-ul-Haq on social media. CA has previously stated that they would not boycott playing Afghanistan in the ICC events because “there is a distinction between playing bilateral series against Afghanistan which falls under CA control as compared to playing in a World Cup tournament which is an ICC event and subject to their regulations.”

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