Australia has decided to withdraw from their three-match ODI series against Afghanistan men scheduled to be played in March 2023 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the Taliban government's restrictions on women's sports and outdoor activities in their country.
Cricket Australia had earlier announced that it was reconsidering the decision to play Afghanistan in the ODI series after the Taliban captured power in the country last year.
"Following extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the Australian Government, Cricket Australia has decided that it is unable to proceed at this time with the upcoming ICC Super League three-match Men's ODI series between Australia and Afghanistan scheduled for the UAE in March 2023," Cricket Australia announced on Thursday.
This decision follows the recent announcement by the Taliban of further restrictions on women's and girls' education and employment opportunities and their ability to access parks and gyms, Cricket Australia said further in its statement.
"CA is committed to supporting growing the game for women and men around the world, including in Afghanistan, and will continue to engage with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in anticipation of improved conditions for women and girls in the country," Cricket Australia said.
We thank the Australian Government for its support on this matter, CA added. This is the second time that Australia have pulled out of a tour in the last two years. Australia had pulled out of its tour of South Africa in February and March 2021 because of coronavirus concerns.
The teams were due to play three Tests, subject to bio-secure protocols being agreed upon. Cricket Australia said it had "no choice" because of the situation in South Africa, where a more contagious variant of the virus was reported at that time.