Cricket Australia has hit back at criticism of its decision to pull out of an ODI series against Afghanistan, with chief executive Nick Hockley declaring “basic human rights is not politics”.
Australia’s decision to withdraw from the three-ODI series against Afghanistan in the UAE this March has been widely condemned, with Rashid Khan threatening to withdraw from the BBL.
Rashid Khan, one of the tournament’s most popular players, stated that he was “strongly considering” his future in the BBL due to the controversy.
But Nick Hockley was adamant that Cricket Australia could not be accused of putting politics above sport.
“It is clearly a very challenging and sad situation. We did not take this decision lightly and consulted widely including with our government,” Hockley said. “We were hopeful of playing the series and have been in regular dialogue with the Afghanistan Cricket Board.”
“Rashid will always be welcome in the BBL” – Nick Hockley
“However announcements by the Taliban in late November and late December signalling the deterioration of basic human rights for women in Afghanistan led to our decision to withdraw from these games. Basic human rights is not politics,” he added.
Hockley also stated that his organisation had no problem with Rashid or other players like Sydney Sixers quick Naveen-ul-Haq, who threatened to boycott the tournament.
“We acknowledge and applaud Rashid Khan’s and other Afghanistan cricketers’ comments at the time condemning the Taliban’s decision to ban women from universities. Rashid will always be welcome in the BBL.”
If Afghan players withdraw from the BBL, there will be a significant void to fill, as players such as Mohammad Nabi, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Qais Ahmad, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Izharulhaq Naveed, and Naveen-ul-Haq have excelled in recent years.
CA had previously cancelled a one-off Test in Afghanistan scheduled for November 2021 due to the Taliban government’s policies toward women.