The Taliban said on Wednesday (September 8) that Afghan women cannot participate in sports, including cricket because sports activities "would expose their bodies." Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy director of the Taliban's cultural committee, told the media that sports activities were not necessary for women.
Earlier this week, the Taliban decreed that only a woman teacher would teach female students but if that was not possible then ‘old men’ of good character could fill in.
“I don't think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket. In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this. It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed,” said Ahmadullah Wasiq, the deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, in an interview.
In November 2020, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) awarded contracts to 25 female cricketers. It also held a 21-day training camp for 40 female cricketers in Kabul. The International Cricket Council (ICC) requires its twelve members to have a women's national team and only full members of the ICC are permitted to play Test matches.
When asked if no women’s cricket would mean ICC calling off the Hobart Test, Wasiq said the Taliban would not compromise. “Even for this, if we face challenges and problems, we have fought for our religion so that Islam is to be followed. We will not cross Islamic values even if it carries opposite reactions. We will not leave our Islamic rules.”
Cricket Australia threaten to cancel Hobart Test against Afghanistan
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia said it would not host Afghanistan for its first historic Test at Hobart if media reports about the women's team without the support of the Taliban are true. "Driving the growth of women's cricket is extremely important to Cricket Australia. Our vision for cricket is that it is a sport for all and we support the game unequivocally for women at every level," Cricket Australia statement on Thursday September 9.
An update on the proposed Test match against Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/p2q5LOJMlw— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) September 9, 2021
"If recent media reports that women's cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are substantiated, Cricket Australia would have no alternative but to not host Afghanistan for the proposed Test match due to be played in Hobart," the statement added.