Australia Test captain Tim Paine believes that teams will be unwilling to play Afghanistan in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2021 set to be played from October 17 in Oman and UAE. Paine’s concerns come after the Taliban imposed a ban on women's cricket in the country.
The 36-year-old is also bemused on the International Cricket Council (ICC) grim silence over the matter. Afghanistan is placed in Group B of the T20 World Cup but Paine is unsure if the teams will go ahead and play their match against Afghanistan.
Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Nick Hockley too expressed concerns over the matter and felt that under ICC regulations with Test status, women’s teams should also have an active status and equal rights.
After the T2O World Cup, Australia and Afghanistan are going to play a one-off Test, which is scheduled to begin on November 27. But reports are surfacing that the Test could be called off due to The Taliban’s reluctance on women playing cricket in Afghanistan.
“[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.”
Paine concluded by saying that ICC is yet to speak on this matter but given Australia's stand of not playing against Afghanistan, other teams may also boycott Afghanistan.
“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.”
“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.”