Cricket Australia (CA) has decided to pull out of the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against Afghanistan in the UAE, which was scheduled to be held in Match 2023. The series was part of the ODI Cricket World Cup Super League, but both teams have qualified for the 2023 World Cup and hence the points from the series does not really matter for either side.
The move comes after the Taliban's further restrictions on women and girls in the country which has curbed many of their basic human rights.
"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," CA said in a release.
"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."
This is not the first time Australia have called-off a bilateral series. Previously in 2021, they had also cancelled the one-ff Test that was scheduled to be held in Hobart in November 202 for similar reasons.
Australia did play Afghanistan in the recent T20 World Cup in Adelaide, with the hosts winning by four runs. The two teams have mer four times in international cricket overall.
Australia and Afghanistan have never faced off in a bilateral series before, barring their one-off ODI in the UAE in 2012, that Aussies won by 66 runs.
The two sides are expected to meet in the ongoing FTP cycle. They are to play three T20Is at a neutral venue in August 2024, followed by Afghanistan's tour of Australia in 2026, when they will play a Test and three T20Is.