Afghanistan cricketers urge ICC to help them form refugee team in Australia

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17 players from Afghanistan have urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to help them create a refugee team based in Australia.

In 2020, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) awarded contracts to players. However, the women’s team, which was formed in 2010, was disbanded in 2021 following the Taliban’s takeover of the country. The Taliban had banned women from participating in any sporting activities. As a result, Afghanistan does not have a women’s national team.

The players have now approached the ICC to get their careers back on track. Last week, they wrote a letter to ICC president Greg Barclay asking for “support and guidance” from the game’s governing body to formalize it.

In the letter, the players acknowledged that they cannot be called up to the Afghanistan national team or even play under the ACB flag “due to the policies of the Afghan government.”

However, they made it clear that they want to play and asked to be managed by the East Asian Cricket office based at Cricket Australia as a refugee team. The players also mentioned that the ICC could help “represent all Afghan women who dream of playing cricket but cannot do so in Afghanistan.”

Letter from Afghanistan players to the ICC:

“We, the previously contracted players of the Afghanistan women’s team, are proud and excited by Afghanistan’s achievements in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and would like to congratulate Rashid Khan and his team for reaching the semi-finals,” the letter read . according to ESPNcricinfo.

“We feel deep sadness because as women we cannot represent our country like cricketers do. We want to recruit and train cricket-loving girls and women to show the world the talent of Afghan women and the great victories that they can achieve if given a chance through the leadership and financial support of the ICC.

“Our goals in having a refugee team are to develop and showcase our talent, give hope to the women remaining in Afghanistan and draw attention to the challenges faced by women in Afghanistan.

“Like the Afghanistan men’s team, our goal is to compete at the highest level. We want to recruit and train girls and women who love cricket to show the world the talent of Afghan women and demonstrate the great victories they can achieve if They are given an opportunity through the leadership and financial support of the ICC,” the letter added.

The letter comes just days after the impressive performance of the Afghanistan men’s team in the recently concluded ICC T20 World Cup 2024. Rashid Khan & Co. shocked the cricket world by enjoying a historic campaign in the competition. They defeated the likes of New Zealand, Australia and Bangladesh to qualify for the semi-finals.