Cricket Australia is still aiming to host Afghanistan Test


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Sydney (AFP)

Cricket Australia says that despite the Taliban’s takeover of the country and acute uncertainty about their rule, they still hope that a scheduled friendly against Afghanistan will take place.

The governing body said preparations for the one-off game in Hobart on November 27 are going as planned.

“Cricket Australia’s plans for the historic first Australia-Afghanistan friendly in Hobart are well underway,” CA said on its website late Tuesday.

“There is goodwill between CA and the Afghanistan Cricket Board to make the game happen.”

The game was originally scheduled for late last year but has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CA responded to reported comments from the Taliban that the Afghanistan team’s schedule would not be interrupted.

“We want good relations with all countries in the future,” said the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, of the Australian television station SBS.

“When good relationships are built, Afghan players can go (to Australia) and come here.”

The rescheduled game in the Tasmanian capital will take place immediately after the ICC T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, in which both Australia and Afghanistan will take part.

The Australians will use the test as a warm-up for their home series Ashes against England from December.

During their first term in power, the Taliban banned most forms of entertainment – including many sports – and stadiums also served as public execution sites.

The hardline Islamists have nothing against cricket, however, and the game is popular with many fighters. You have also promised to enforce a less stringent version of Islamic law this time around.

Still, Afghan pace bowler Naveen-ul-Haq said in an interview on BBC radio after the Taliban took power that many of his teammates were scared.

“The Taliban have said (they) will not harass athletes, but nobody knows,” said Haq of the West Indies, where he plays in the Caribbean Premier League.

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