Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Under the new Taliban regime, it is most likely that women in Afghanistan will not be allowed to play cricket or participate in any sport. As per the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) rule, the situation could put the future of the country’s men’s international team in jeopardy.

The deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission Ahmadullah Wasiq has stated that sport is not seen as ‘necessary’ for women.

“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that they should play cricket. They might face a situation in the game where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this,” said Wasiq.

“There will be photos and videos in this media era. Islam do not allow women to play any kind of sports where they get exposed,” he said.

However, ICC rules state that all the 12 full members must have a national women’s team and only the full members are allowed to play Test matches.

Afghanistan’s men’s team is scheduled to play Australia in a Test match during November. But the latest comment from the Taliban about the uncertain future of women’s cricket in the country has cast doubts over the match now taking place.

Taliban is expected to remain supportive of the men’s cricket team. But their hard-line stance over women’s participation appears unlikely to be relaxed. 

Meanwhile, the Australia Cricket Board said it will scrap the planned Test match against the Afghanistan men’s team if the Taliban rulers did not allow women to play the sport. 

ICC also expressed concern over the fate of cricket in Afghanistan. The global managing body of the game will discuss about Afghanistan’s membership at the next board meeting in November. It is likely that the country’s status as one of the 12 full members could be in jeopardy. As a full member of ICC, Afghanistan currently gets annual funding of around five million dollars as well as voting rights on the board.