Cricket has had a significant impact on how the world perceives a war-torn country like Afghanistan.
Tuba Sangar, a former director of the Afghanistan women’s team, has urged foreign cricket boards and players to support the Afghanistan men’s team rather than punishing them by boycotting matches if the Taliban prohibits women from participating in the sport.
Sangar, who escaped Afghanistan for Canada shortly after the Islamist Taliban seized power, cautioned that sporting sanctions will harm the game at the grassroots level for both women and girls. Boycotting the male team is not a good idea.
“If we don’t have a male team anymore, there would be no hope for cricket overall,” said the director of women’s cricket at the Afghanistan Cricket Board from 2014-2020.
After a top Taliban official went on television and said it was “not necessary” for women to play; Cricket Australia threatened to postpone a historic maiden Test between the two countries scheduled for November.
The Afghan men’s squad will also compete in the T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman.
On Tuesday, however, Bashir Ahmad Rustamzai, Afghanistan’s new director general for sports, refused to say whether women will be allowed to participate in sports. Instead he defers the decision to top-level Taliban authorities.