Afghanistan Women players call on ICC to establish refugee team in Australia

A group of former female Afghanistan players, living in Australia, have written an open letter to ICC chair Greg Barclay


Former members of the Afghanistan women's team have written to the ICC, requesting "support and assistance" in establishing a refugee team based in Australia, where several of the side now live.

Several women cricketers fled the country in 2021 following the Taliban government takeover; a Taliban official told The Guardian in September of that year that "it is not necessary that women should play cricket".

The global governing body has been broadly silent on the matter since then; but when Cricket Australia called off a series against Afghanistan earlier this year, having called off a one-off Test and ODI series the previous year, they referenced the "deteriorating human rights for women and girls in the country under Taliban rule". Afghanistan are the only Full Member nation without a women's team.

Richard Gould, ECB chief executive, told The Cricketer that England would not look to schedule bilateral series against Afghanistan while that remained the case.

On Saturday, after the men's side reached the T20 World Cup semi-finals, the members of the women's national team now based in Australia wrote to ICC chair Greg Barclay, "asking the ICC to assist us in setting up a refugee team in Australia".

Related: Isa Guha: World has turned its back on Afghanistan's women's cricketers


Afghanistan Women have called on the assistance of ICC chair Greg Barclay, pictured here presenting India with the T20 World Cup (Randy Brooks/AFP via Getty Images)

"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," it read.

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

"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.

"It could be administered by the East Asian Cricket office based at Cricket Australia. Through this team we aim to represent all Afghan women who dream of playing cricket but are unable to 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. Our goals in having a refugee team are 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.

"Like the Afghanistan men's team are afforded, we aim to compete at the highest levels. We want to recruit and train girls and women who love cricket, to show the world the talent of Afghan women and to demonstrate the great victories they can achieve if given a chance through the leadership and financial support of the ICC."

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