The Cricket Australia has canceled its three-matches of ODI’s series which was planned to be held in United Arab Emirate in March.
The decision has faced a strong reaction by Afghanistan’s Cricket Board and many famous Afghan players including the ODI and test captain Hashmatullah Shahidi.
The Cricket Australia in a statement explained that the decision followed the “Taliban's recent announcement” regarding further restrictions on women and girls' education and employment.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board said in a statement that it is extremely disappointed and saddened by the “pathetic statement” of Cricket Australia to withdraw from Afghanistan’s home three-match ODI series and that it will officially write to the International Cricket Council about the issue.
“Cricket Australia's decision to withdraw from upcoming matches against Afghanistan is coming after consultation and potential enforcement from the Australian Government which is an unfortunate attempt to enter the realm of politics and politicize the sport,” the statement reads. “By prioritizing political interests over the principles of fair play and sportsmanship, Cricket Australia is undermining the integrity of the game and damaging the relationship between the two nations.”
The decision to withdraw from playing the upcoming ODI series against Afghanistan is unfair and unexpected and will have a negative impact on the development and growth of cricket in Afghanistan as well as will affect the love and passion of the Afghan nation for the game, the statement reads.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s ODI and test cricket captain, Hashmatullah Shahidi reacted to Australia’s decision of canceling the three-ODI series and called on Cricket Australia to re- consider the decision on not playing the ODI series in the UAE.
“Fans and people of Afghanistan who have suffered immensely due to conflict for the past 42 years don’t want politics brought into sports,” Shahidi said. “Cricket is the most loved sport in the country and one of the main sources of happiness.”
Afghan famous player Rashid Khan on Twitter expressed disappointment over the Cricket Australia's decision to cancel ODI matches against Afghanistan.
“If playing vs Afghanistan is so uncomfortable for Australia then I wouldn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable with my presence in the BBL,” Khan said.
Some other famous Afghan players, including Rahmanullah Gurbaz, have also reacted to Australia's decision to cancel the 3-ODI series.