Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley has said that discussions will continue with government and ICC officials over Australia hosting Afghanistan in a Test match in Hobart later this year. The “extremely challenging and complex situation” arises after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
The historic Australia-Afghanistan Test was scheduled to be played last season, but was postponed due to the covid-19 pandemic. The first-ever Test between the two nations is now due to begin from November 27, but Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein had stated his concerns about the fixture earlier this week, adding that he would seek the advice of the local Hazara community.
As it turns out, there’s still uncertainty over the fixture.
"It's an extremely challenging and complex situation," Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia's chief executive, told SEN radio. "There's so many layers to it and it really does transcend cricket.
"The situation as it stands today, is that Afghanistan are a full member of the ICC, they're due to play in the T20 World Cup, but we're working very closely and having all the right discussions with the ICC, with the Australian government and ultimately we'll take our lead from them.
"We don't yet have answers but we're in dialogue and taking advice from all the relevant organisations."
Another major concern is the Taliban's historic opposition to women's freedom. Under the ICC regulations, nations with Test status are required to have both men’s and women’s teams. Afghanistan had got its Test status back in 2017 and the board had recently started a women’s team.
"I think it's something that is being keenly followed and observed," Hockley said. "I think here in Australia, we've been a real driving force in growing cricket for women and girls.
"Absolutely we want to see cricket for women and girls growing and strong all around the world. As I said previously, obviously the current situation is very new, international cricket is working to understand the implications, but it is something we will continue to watch very closely."
As it stands, the Afghanistan men's team is set to feature in the T20 World Cup in the UAE, before which, they are also likely to host Australia and West Indies for T20I tri-series'.