Australia cricket men’s tour of Afghanistan could be canceled for ethical reasons

Cricket Australia’s newly appointed ethics commissioner is part of the decision-making process that could result in the men’s national team refusing to play planned ODIs against Afghanistan in March.

Cricket Australia has pushed the thorny issue of whether the men’s national team should play a planned one-day international series against Afghanistan this year past their recently appointed ethics commissioner as a call beckons over whether to have the pin pulled on the tour.

As part of the ICC’s future touring programme, the Australians will play three ODIs against Afghanistan in late March, at the end of the four Test and three ODI tours of India which begin in early February.

It is understood that if the series is played, the series would likely take place in the United Arab Emirates given Afghanistan’s uncertainty about hosting international cricket and India, which has been a home ground for Afghanistan in the past, with commitments in Indian Premier League is busy.

But there is no guarantee that the series will continue. Afghanistan’s rise to become a globally competitive cricket nation, one of the sport’s great stories of the 2010s, was thwarted by the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021.

Australia was due to host Afghanistan for the teams’ first Test in late 2021, a game that had already been postponed a year because of the pandemic. However, the clash was postponed indefinitely over concerns about the future of women’s sport in the country.

Afghanistan has continued to appear at ICC events as well as in bilateral series against some other nations since the Taliban took power, and played a three-game ODI series in Sri Lanka in November.

The Afghan side played Australia at the Adelaide Oval in the pool stage of the recent T20 World Cup and came within a hair’s breadth of a major boil over.

After already banning teenage girls from school, the Taliban made the decision in December to ban women from attending university in Afghanistan, a move that sparked global outrage and questions about the appropriateness of participating in athletic competitions further spotlighted a team representing a nation run by such a repressive regime.

It is understood that CA is ready to issue a call on the proposed series in the coming weeks and that the governing body will consider Dr. Simon Longstaff, who was announced as CA’s first ethics commissioner in September.

dr Longstaff wrote the scathing cultural review in CA after the Cape Town ball tampering that recommended the establishment of such a post.

“The creation of the CA Ethics Officer role and the appointment of Dr. Longstaff are significant steps for Australian cricket,” said CA Chairman Dr. Lachlan Henderson, at the time of Longstaff’s appointment.

“Not only have we adopted the key recommendations of the Ethics Centre’s review, this initiative will help ensure the best process for reviewing any ethical issues in cricket that may arise in the future.

“The CA Board and our state and territory colleagues are committed to improving the governance structures in cricket and the ethics commissioner will provide an important reference point for issues affecting CA and the game more broadly.

“After leading the 2018 review, Dr. Longstaff a detailed understanding of the challenges the game has faced and the progress that has been made recently. We look forward to working with him to improve cricket.”

Daniel Cherny

Daniel ChernyStaff writer

Daniel Cherny is a Melbourne-based sportswriter specializing in AFL and cricket. After starting his career at Back Page Lead, Daniel spent eight years at The Age covering Australian Test cricket tours in Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Rio 2016 Olympics. He has been recognized for both his AFL and cricket writing, including winning the Clinton Grybas Rising Star Award at the 2019 Australian Football Media Association Awards. He is also a compulsive Simpsons quoter. Australia cricket men’s tour of Afghanistan could be canceled for ethical reasons

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