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Afghanistan women cricketers urge ICC to set up refugee team in Australia

In a letter written to the global governing body, the women cricketers praised the splendid performance of the men's team in the T20 World Cup but rued that they were not getting opportunities to flourish.
Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 15:18 IST

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Melbourne: With the dream of once again donning the Afghanistan jersey at the international level, 17 women cricketers from the country living in self-imposed exile in Australia have written to the ICC to help set up a team, which was disbanded after the Taliban takeover in 2021.

While the Afghanistan men's team has set new benchmarks and recently made it to the T20 World Cup semifinals for the first time, the women players, who were contracted to the Afghanistan Cricket Board before the Taliban takeover, sought refuge in Australia, where they hope to set up a refugee team and play international cricket.

In a letter written to the global governing body, the women cricketers praised the splendid performance of the men's team in the T20 World Cup but rued that they were not getting opportunities to flourish.

"We, the formerly contracted players of the Afghanistan women's team, are proud and excited by the achievements of Afghanistan at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup and wish to congratulate Rashid Khan and his team on reaching the semi-finals," the letter, written on June 29 stated.

"A profound sadness remains that we, as women, cannot represent our country like the male cricketers."

The Afghanistan government has stringent rules for women and they are not allowed to indulge in sports activities.

"As former Afghan cricketers now living abroad, we are unable to represent the Afghanistan women's national team. We are asking the ICC to assist us in setting up a refugee team in Australia," the letter added.

The players have suggested that the team can be administered through the East Asian Cricket office, which is based at Cricket Australia. They, however, acknowledged that "due to the government policies of Afghanistan and the Afghanistan Cricket Board, the ICC cannot recognise them as a national team of Afghanistan".

"Through this team, we aim to represent all Afghan women who dream of playing cricket but are unable to in Afghanistan."

The players have said that their proposed team would be the one "without borders" and would draw attention to the challenges being faced by women players in Afghanistan.

"Creating a team of Afghan refugees can give us a chance to play, coach and administer a cricket team without borders. The creation of this team will allow all Afghan women who want to represent their country to come together under one banner,: the players said in their letter.

"Our goals in having a refugee team is to develop and showcase our talent, give hope to the women remaining in Afghanistan, and to draw attention to the challenges women of Afghanistan face."

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Published 01 July 2024, 15:18 IST

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