The Taliban’s take over of the country’s political spectrum has changed the outlook of the country and has put its cricket in a state of chaos. Though the nation’s men’s cricket is allowed to resume cricketing commitments, the identity of the team is still under question. The question is, will Taliban allow the team to play under the Afghanistan flag. In a case where the team is made to participate under the Taliban flag, the repercussions could be huge. As per the protocols, all the participating nations in the T20 World Cup are supposed to submit the flags under which they will be participating. Usually, this process isn’t a matter of debate but in Afghanistan’s case, it is. Should Afghanistan submit the Taliban’s flag for the showpiece event, the International Cricket Council would be under pressure to clear its stance over the situation in the Asian country.
As per a report in the Telegraph UK, ICC might not just bar Afghanistan from participating into the T20 World Cup but could also kick them out as one of the member nations. At the time of writing this report, it wasn’t yet known what the Taliban controlled Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) thinks. But, the appointment of Naseeb Zadran Khan in place of Hamid Shinwari does hint towards the Taliban’s intent of getting itself highlighted on the international circuit.
Afghanistan qualified directly for the finals of the T20 World Cup 2021 and are placed in Group 2 alongside India, Pakistan and New Zealand. They will be joined by two more teams from the qualifiers that will begin from October 17.
The Afghans are also under pressure over the current status of their women’s national team. According to the ICC rules, full members must have a national women’s team. The Afghanistan Cricket Board was to launch their women’s team this year but the plans received a huge setback with the Taliban’s infiltration into the nation. Earlier this month, the ICC had admitted being concerned about women’s cricket in Afghanistan. Australia has even threatened to cancel its historic Test against Afghanistan’s men’s team if the nation doesn’t promote women’s cricket like other member nations.
Afghanistan, at present, receives $5 million a year in funding from the ICC as a full member.
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