Cricketer Asghar Stanikzai has hit back at Australia Test captain Tim Paine for the latter’s remark that teams might boycott playing against Afghanistan in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup if the country, which has been taken over by the Taliban, fails to support women’s cricket.
Paine on Friday stated that it would be “interesting” to see how a team like Afghanistan is allowed to play in an ICC tournament. The Australian also added that the chances of Australia’s first-ever Test against Afghanistan are “not looking good” with the Taliban unwilling to let women play cricket.
Taking to Facebook, former Afghanistan captain Asghar said:
“Mr Paine! The Afghan National Cricket Team has the right to play not only in this World Cup but in all ICC organized tournaments/events in accordance with the rules and regulations of ICC, and I’m sure that our brave National Heroes will perform their best in it and showcase their elite Talents Inshallah.”
“As a Sportsperson and Professional Cricketer, you know that it requires too much hard work and dedication to reach this level of Cricket. For a less privileged Cricketing Nation as Afghanistan with zero infrastructure and support reaching where we are right now and playing shoulder to shoulder with the top 10 countries require sheer determination, passion and talent. Therefore, you should refrain from delivering aggressive statements which would result in isolating the Afghan Cricket,” he added.
“Cricket is now the No#1 Sport in Afghanistan and is being followed by nearly 30 million Afghans. This shows, either you are unaware of the circumstances or talking out of contradiction; in any case, you are mistreating Afghan Cricket and all the gains we have obtained with hardship in the past decade. (Sports should be separated from politics).”
Notably, Cricket Australia (CA) on Thursday announced that the planned men’s Test against Afghanistan in November would not go ahead if the country does not support women’s cricket. Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) also said that it fully stands behind the move as the human rights issue in Afghanistan transcends the game of cricket.