ISLAMABAD: International cricketers should support Afghanistan’s men’s team, not punish them by boycotting matches if the Taliban bars women from playing, the previous director of the women’s side said.
Tuba Sangar, who fled the country for Canada shortly after the autumn of the country to the hardline Islamist group, warned that sports sanctions would damage the sport at the grassroots — including for ladies and girls.
“It’s not an honest idea to boycott the male team. They did tons for Afghanistan — they introduced Afghanistan to the planet during a positive way,” Sangar said on Tuesday.
“If we don’t have a male team any longer , there would be no hope for cricket overall,” said the 28-year-old, who was the director of women’s cricket at the Afghanistan Cricket Board from 2014-2020.
Australia’s cricket chiefs threatened to cancel a historic maiden Test between the 2 countries — set to require place in November — after a senior Taliban official went on television to mention it had been “not necessary” for ladies to play.
During their first stint in power, before being ousted in 2001, the Taliban banned most sorts of entertainment — including many sports — and stadiums were used as public execution venues.
Women were completely banned from playing sport.
But the game has become immensely popular over the past few decades, largely as a results of cricket-mad Pakistan across the border.
This time round, the hardline Islamists have shown they are doing not mind men playing cricket, pulling together a match within the capital Kabul shortly after foreign forces withdrew.
But on Tuesday, Bashir Ahmad Rustamzai, Afghanistan’s new director general for sports, declined to answer on whether women are going to be allowed to play sports — deferring it for top level Taliban leaders to make a decision .
The takeover has called into question the longer term of Afghanistan’s participation in Test matches, as under International Cricket Council regulations, nations must even have a lively women’s team.
The Afghan men’s team is additionally scheduled to play the T20 World Cup from October 17 to November 14 within the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) last week urged Australia to not punish its men’s team, saying it had been “powerless to vary the culture and non secular environment of Afghanistan”.
ACB chairman Azizullah Fazli later told SBS Radio Pashto that he’s still hopeful women are going to be ready to play.
He said that each one 25 of the women’s team had chosen to stay in Afghanistan, although a BBC report earlier this month reported members were doggo .
“When I play I desire a robust woman. I can imagine myself as a lady who can do anything, who can make her dreams come true,” one ex-player told the BBC.
But Sangar said the Taliban takeover had “killed the hope” of female cricketers to finally be ready to play internationally.
“From 2014 to now, we didn’t have the chance to play at a world level but there was the hope, everybody was trying their best to form it happen,” she said.
“There are some girls that are very talented, and that they hoped that at some point they might have their flag on their shoulders and show the planet that Afghan women can play cricket.”
The men’s team now rank within the world’s top 10 for both One-day Internationals and Twenty20 games.
Sangar said cricketing nations could support Afghanistan’s female players by backing a team in exile.
“We can play from third countries,” she said, noting that Afghanistan’s eleven had played while based abroad. “It will bring some hope to those that remain in Afghanistan,” she said.