An extremely disappointed and saddened Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) said on Wednesday it will officially write to the International Cricket Council (ICC) about Cricket Australia (CA) withdrawal from the three-match men's ODI series to be hosted by them in March.
Earlier in the day, Cricket Australia (CA) has said in an official statement that it has decided to withdraw from a men's ODI series against Afghanistan to be played in the UAE in March, which is a part of the ICC Super League, after consulting with the government and following a recent announcement by the Taliban on banning women's and girls' education, employment and ability to access parks and gyms.
ABC has also said that they could re-consider the participation of Afghanistan players in the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia if CA doesn't take back the decision of not playing an ODI series against their men's team.
"Cricket Australia's decision to withdraw from upcoming matches against Afghanistan is coming after consultation and potential enforcement from the Australian Government which is an unfortunate attempt to enter the realm of politics and politicize the sport."
"By prioritizing political interests over the principles of fair play and sportsmanship, Cricket Australia is undermining the integrity of the game and damaging the relationship between the two nations.
The recent decision by Cricket Australia to withdraw from upcoming matches against Afghanistan has caused a great deal of concern within the Afghan cricket community."
"The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is closely monitoring the situation and is considering taking action, including officially writing to ICC and rethinking the participation of Afghan players in the Big Bash League (BBL), if the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan's home series is not overturned," said the ACB in its statement.
ACB further said the decision taken by CA will severely impact the growth of cricket in the country. "The decision to withdraw from playing the upcoming ODI series against Afghanistan is unfair and unexpected and will have a negative impact on the development and growth of cricket in Afghanistan as well as will affect the love and passion of the Afghan nation for the game."
"Cricket has played a significant role in promoting unity and national pride in Afghanistan. After years of war and conflict, cricket has helped to bring people together and provide a sense of normalcy to the country.
It has also been an important source of hope and inspiration for all Afghans, particularly young people. In addition, Cricket has also been an important tool for promoting education and social development in the country."
ACB insisted that cricket has been a tool for development in the country and that it is willing to work with CA and other boards to get towards appropriate solutions.
"The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has been working to promote cricket in schools and universities, and it has also been using the sport to promote healthy lifestyles and discourage young people from getting involved in drugs and crime."
"Cricket has been an important tool for promoting peace, unity, and development in Afghanistan, and it will continue to be a source of inspiration and hope for the people of the country in the years to come."
"Afghanistan's three-match ODI series against Australia in March is considered to be Afghanistan's sixth series in the ICC Cricket World Cup's Super League, which is set to be hosted by Afghanistan in UAE and the ACB has already settled all the required logistical arrangements."
"Afghanistan Cricket Board has always been responsive and expressed its willingness to work together with Cricket Australia and other member boards including stakeholders; to find a solution that supports the development of the game in Afghanistan."
This is the second time in two years that CA has cancelled a bilateral meeting with Afghanistan due to the Taliban government's policies on women. Earlier, the CA had postponed the one-off men's Test that was scheduled to be played in Hobart in November 2021 due to concern over women's cricket in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country.
Australia did play Afghanistan in Adelaide during the recent Men's T20 World Cup, where they won by four runs. The two teams have met only once in a bilateral match in 2012, with the rest of three meetings coming in ICC World Cups.