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Cricket-Paine says teams may refuse to play Afghanistan at T20 World Cup

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September 10, 2021

(Reuters) – Australia captain Tim Paine said the chances of their first ever test against Afghanistan going ahead are “not looking good” with the Taliban unwilling to let women play cricket and questioned why the game’s governing body had remained quiet on the issue.

Australia are due to face the Afghanistan men’s team in Hobart from Nov. 27 but Cricket Australia said on Thursday they would not host the side if reports women’s cricket would not be supported in the country were substantiated.

Paine also highlighted the International Cricket Council’s continued silence given that Afghanistan are due to take part in the Twenty20 World Cup, which starts from Oct. 17 in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

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“(The Hobart test) is not looking good, we are in a world of trouble no doubt about that, but the reasoning around it is probably fair enough,” Paine said on SEN radio.

“There are probably two levels to it. There’s the cricket aspect to it from an ICC point of view that to be a test-playing nation you have to have an international women’s team, obviously with the Taliban at the moment banning women from playing any sport and that has implications at an ICC level.

“Secondly from a female, human rights point of view, excluding half of your population from trying to do something is not on.

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“I don’t think we want to be associated with countries that are taking things or opportunities off literally half of their population.”

Paine said he could not see how Afghanistan can be allowed to play in an ICC event under the current circumstances.

“At this stage we have heard from Cricket Australia, we’ve heard from the Australian government, we’ve heard from the Australian Cricketers Association,” Paine said.

“But as yet we’ve heard nothing from the ICC, which I think is fascinating given there is a T20 World Cup in a month’s time and at the moment Afghanistan are in that.

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“It will be interesting to see what happens in that space. Does the team get kicked out of the World Cup?

“I imagine it will be impossible if teams are pulling out against playing against them and governments are not letting them travel to our shores, then how a team like that can be allowed to play in an ICC sanctioned event is going to be very, very hard to see.”

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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