Afghanistan’s newly appointed cricket chairman, Azizullah Fazli, announced on Wednesday that he will travel neighboring Pakistan later this week to invite the team to a one-day series.
The war-torn country has slowly climbed in international cricket in recent years, with talents such as world number one spinner Rashid Khan, but there have been calls for a boycott of the men’s team following the hardline Taliban’s takeover last month.
The shift in leadership has brought into question Afghanistan’s participation in Test matches, as nations are required by the International Cricket Council to have an active women’s squad.
The Taliban have yet to publish a policy on women participating in sports, but a top official has stated that it is “not required.” Fazli, who avoided commenting on the new developments, stated that he intended to tour other regional cricketing powers.
“I am beginning a visit of Pakistan on September 25 and will then travel to India, Bangladesh, and the United Arab Emirates to meet with cricket board officials,” he told AFP over the phone from Kabul.
Fazli stated that he will visit with Ramiz Raja, the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, and “offer to host Pakistan for the series that we were supposed to play in Sri Lanka in September.”
The Pakistan-Afghanistan one-day series was cancelled due to logistical issues and a Covid-19 epidemic in Sri Lanka. It was part of a one-day league that served as a qualifier for the 2023 World Cup.
Australia has threatened to cancel a November Test against Afghanistan in Brisbane unless the Taliban allow women to play cricket. The new overlords fired Hamid Shinwari as CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board on Tuesday, replacing him with Naseeb Zadran Khan, who is tied to the Haqqani network, which is responsible for some of the country’s bloodiest attacks in its history.