Australia- Afghanistan

Usman Khawaja: Australia should play with Afghanistan in bilateral series

Online Desk

Online Desk
Publish Date: 17:07 Monday, June 24, 2024

|| CF DESK||

Usman Khawaja expressed his belief that Australia should engage in bilateral cricket with Afghanistan, despite his awareness of the significant human rights issues faced by women under Taliban rule.

Cricket Australia has twice canceled matches against Afghanistan—first a Test match in Australia and then a T20 series abroad—citing severe deterioration in women's and girls' rights. Nonetheless, they continue to compete against Afghanistan in ICC tournaments.

Following Afghanistan's remarkable victory over Australia in the T20 World Cup, Rashid Khan questioned the inconsistency, highlighting his confusion over why World Cup events proceed while bilateral series do not.

"I personally think yes we should be playing Afghanistan. I am sympathetic to both sides of the puzzle. I totally respect and agree with a lot of aspects of the stance Cricket Australia has in terms of women's cricket in Afghanistan, but there's also another side to it, of promoting and growing the game,” Khawaja told Nine Newspapers at an Amazon Prime event in Melbourne.

"This is the second time Australia have backed out of a bilateral series, and I talked to Rashid Khan. He was really disappointed, more so because the Afghanistan people love cricket, and for them cricket is one of the few things they enjoy and brings happiness, and the fact they were going to play Australia was going to be huge, and they don't get to see that now. So it actually hurts the people, and the people are separate from the government."

Khawaja also referenced Afghanistan players appearing in the BBL, with Rashid having become a star for Adelaide Strikers over the years. Rashid initially threatened to withdraw from the competition last year over CA's stance but subsequently made himself available before suffering an injury.

"It's a little bit hypocritical too if we say no we're not going to play Afghanistan, but then allowing Afghanistan cricketers to play in the BBL," Khawaja said. "They 100 percent should [play], but then how do you do one and not the other?"