Afghan players call for politics to be kept out of sport

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Afghan cricketers reacted strongly to Australia’s decision to scrap the three-match ODI series scheduled for March in the UAE on Thursday, with a number of players threatening to boycott the Big Bash League (BBL).

Australia said in a statement early Thursday they were calling off the series, citing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s decision to suspend school and university for women and girls.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) described Australia’s decision as “pathetic” and said it was “unfair”.

Taking to Twitter after the announcement, a number of national players, who are currently playing for BBL teams in Australia, slammed the decision and unanimously called for politics to be kept out of sport.

Afghanistan’s star cricketer Rashid Khan said: “Cricket! The only hope for the country. Keep politics out of it.”

Rashid also issued a statement where he said he was considering his future in BBL.

“I am really disappointed to hear that Australia have pulled out of the series to play us in March. I take great pride in representing my country and we have made great progress on the world stage. This decision from CA sets us back in that journey. If playing vs Afghanistan is so uncomfortable for Australia then I wouldn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable with my presence in the BBL. Therefore, I will be strongly considering my future in that competition.”

Afghan ODI and Test captain Hashmatullah Shahidi said “fans and people of Afghanistan who have suffered immensely due to conflict… don’t want politics brought into sports”.

“Cricket is the most loved sport in the country and one of the main sources of happiness,” he said on Twitter, asking CA to reconsider its decision.

Pace bowler Naveen-ul-Haq meanwhile said he would pull out of the Big Bash League where he plays for the Sydney Sixers.

“When a country is going through so much in place (of) being supportive you want to take the only reason of happiness from them,” he tweeted.—Ariana news