Mon. Aug 8th, 2022

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Nick Hockley has said the one-off test for men against Afghanistan – scheduled for Hobart in November – is likely to be postponed.

Hockley said the CA was trying to get more information about the “situation on the ground” in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s recent takeover of the country.

The Taliban has said it does not support women and girls playing cricket, which is a condition of membership in the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The Hobart test against Afghanistan – scheduled to begin at the Bellerive Oval on November 27 – had previously been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is likely that we will postpone it (test) to a time when there is more clarity and that is after consultation with the Australian Government,” Hockley said.

“The work we have done is to understand the current situation on the ground.

“We made our position very, very clear behind some previous comments [made by the Taliban] around – potentially – cricket as a sport for women and girls not supported in Afghanistan.

Hockley said the CA would have more to say about the test later this week.

He said he was hopeful the test would be played “at some point in the future when things are a little clearer”.

A wide shot by Bellerieve Oval, with shadows extending over cricketers on the pitch
Bellerive Oval is scheduled to host the test against Afghanistan.(Getty Images: Steve Bell)

The situation with cricket in Afghanistan has been opaque since the Taliban took over the country.

Former Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive Hamid Shinwari was replaced last month by Naseeb Khan.

Afghanistan is scheduled to play in the T20 World Cup for men, which begins later this month in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Acting ICC CEO Geoff Allardice said the organization would discuss Afghanistan’s position in a meeting at the end of the tournament.

“Since the regime change took place in Afghanistan in August, we have been in regular contact with the Afghanistan Cricket Board,” Allardice said.

“Our primary function is to support the development of cricket in this country through the Member Board (ACB).

“We have always said that we are waiting to see how things develop under a different regime in that country.”

CA happy with Ashes green light

Hockley said he was pleased the men’s ashes would take place after the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) gave “conditional approval” for the series to be played in Australia.

The ECB also announced its team for the five-Test series overnight, with the tour party set to travel to Australia early next month.

The first test begins at Gabba in Brisbane on 8 December.

The English tour party will quarantine for two weeks at a Gold Coast resort where they can train and move around.

“There’s been a huge amount of work by a lot, a lot of people, I would say the last six months,” Hockley said.

“It’s about keeping everyone safe.”

Hockley said he had been in daily contact with the ECB and had spoken regularly with federal and state governments.

The fifth test in Perth in January has been a sticking point during negotiations due to the tough border rule of the Western Australian government.

CA has insisted that England and Australian troops will not undergo a two-week quarantine in West Australia before the test, which could force the match to be moved.

Hockley said the CA was working toward conditions where players would compete in a biosafe bubble but also have “relative freedoms”.

“We desperately wanted to play the fifth Test in Perth; it is definitely our intention to do so,” he said.

“These discussions are going on right as we speak. That will be our focus over the next few months.

“We are encouraged by the experience we had last summer where we were able to play five Big Bash (League) matches at the new (Perth) stadium in January.

A sign in a packed stadium shows the attendance number
Perth Stadium hosted AFL matches throughout the season, including the grand finale.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

Hockley said it was too early to speculate on where the fifth test could be played if it was not staged in Perth.


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