Afghanistan Cricket Team Removed From T20 World Cup?
With the T20 World Cup 2021 less than a month away, it remains to be seen whether the nation's men's team will be allowed to participate under the flag of Afghanistan.
Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, there has been a lot of confusion over whether sportspersons from Afghanistan would continue to participate in International tournaments. Currently the Taliban has given permission to only the men's cricket team to play matches. Now the T20 World Cup hosted by the International Cricket Council (ICC) will be held on 17 October and many say that Afghanistan will not be allowed to participate. Let me tell you why. As per the protocols, all the participating nations in the T20 World Cup are supposed to submit flags under which they will be participating. Usually, this process isn't a big deal. However if Afghanistan’s team submits the Taliban's flag, the ICC would be under pressure to not allow the team to participate in the tournament. According to rumours the ICC will not only stop them from participating in the tournament but they will also remove their membership in the ICC.
According to the ICC rules, all countries that are members of ICC must have a national women’s team. This rule was made to encourage women in cricket. The Afghanistan Cricket Board was to launch their women's team this year but it did not happen because the Taliban took over and they are not allowing women to play. Australia is going to play a Test match against Afghanistan for the very first time. They have threatened to cancel the match if Afghanistan does not allow its women's team to play cricket. An ICC board meeting will be soon held to decide all this. Afghanistan, at present, receives $5 million a year in funding from the ICC as a member.
If 12 of the 17 board members decided to suspend Afghanistan's membership over the current state of affairs, the apex board would be forced to do so. The Taliban has banned the broadcast of Indian Premier League (IPL) in the country over the presence of "female audience and spectators" in stadiums. Now if the Taliban are now allowing its citizens to watch matches with women in the audience, we wonder what will happen to its female cricket team.