Afghan Women Cricketers Call for ICC Refugee Team in Australia

The 17 female cricket players from Afghanistan who are living in self-imposed exile in Australia have written to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to assist reestablish the squad, which was dissolved following the Taliban takeover in 2021, with the goal of wearing the Afghanistan shirt at the international level once more.

While the men’s team from Afghanistan has broken records and advanced to the semifinals of the T20 World Cup, the women players, who were under contract to the Afghanistan Cricket Board prior to the Taliban takeover, have fled to Australia in hopes of establishing an international cricket team and playing as refugees.

The women cricket players expressed their gratitude to the global governing body for the men’s team’s outstanding achievement in the T20 World Cup, but they were disappointed that they were not given enough opportunity to succeed.

“We, the formerly contracted players of the Afghanistan women’s team, are proud and excited by the achievements of Afghanistan at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and wish to congratulate Rashid Khan and his team on reaching the semi-finals,” the letter, written on June 29 stated.

“A profound sadness remains that we, as women, cannot represent our country like the male cricketers.”

The Afghanistan government has stringent rules for women and they are not allowed to indulge in sports activities.
“As former Afghan cricketers now living abroad, we are unable to represent the Afghanistan women’s national team. We are asking the ICC to assist us in setting up a refugee team in Australia,” the letter added.

The players have proposed that the East Asian Cricket office, housed at Cricket Australia, handle team administration. They did say that “due to the government policies of Afghanistan and the Afghanistan Cricket Board, the ICC cannot recognise them as a national team of Afghanistan” .

“Through this team, we aim to represent all Afghan women who dream of playing cricket but are unable to in Afghanistan.”

The players have stated that their dream squad would be the one “without borders” and that it would highlight the difficulties that Afghani women athletes confront.

“Creating a team of Afghan refugees can give us a chance to play, coach and administer a cricket team without borders. The creation of this team will allow all Afghan women who want to represent their country to come together under one banner,: the players said in their letter.

“Our goals in having a refugee team is to develop and showcase our talent, give hope to the women remaining in Afghanistan, and to draw attention to the challenges women of Afghanistan face.”

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