ICC acting CEO Allardice: Our goal is to see men and women playing cricket in Afghanistan

Geoff Allardice, the Acting CEO of ICC, has said the Afghanistan Cricket Board has conveyed it won’t stop women’s cricket activities.

Afghanistan players during the T20 World Cup.   -  AP

Days before the International Cricket Council (ICC) Board discusses the fallout of Taliban taking over governance in Afghanistan on its status as a full member, Geoff Allardice, the Acting CEO of ICC, has said the Afghanistan cricket board has conveyed it won’t stop women’s cricket activities.

“They have said to us that women’s cricket is continuing. They certainly haven’t given us an indication that it has stopped. Time will tell, in terms of how that plays out,” Allardice said, in a select-media interaction ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final.

"Yes, we have been in regular communication with them from the time things changed in their country. We are hoping to have some meetings with their representatives around our board meetings.”

The ICC Board is set to discuss the Afghanistan issue, along with the ICC tournament cycle for the next eight years, on Tuesday. Asked if the ICC is contemplating setting a deadline for resumption of women’s cricket in Afghanistan, Allardice played safe.

“I think that’s a bit premature. For the moment the board is going to get an update on the situation and then think about taking any future decisions. It’s premature for me to speculate,” he said.

READ: Australia confirms postponement of Afghanistan Test

Cricket Australia recently postponed its scheduled Test against Afghanistan owing to the women’s cricket issue.  Asked if the failure of women cricketers being allowed to participate in cricket would result in its men’s team being suspended, Allardice felt the ICC will not interfere in bilateral arrangements.

“Our goal is to see men and women playing cricket in Afghanistan. Our view is that the best way to achieve that is to stay closely connected with the cricket board and try to influence [things] through the cricket board,” Allardice said.

“They are on a steady trajectory of development there and we would like to see that continue. How other members react with their bilateral arrangements with Afghanistan is up to them. We will be working through their situation at our board level and with their board as well. They are the agent for developing cricket in their country.”

Allardice reiterated cricket’s importance to drive change in Afghanistan. “Afghanistan is our member and they are going through some change at the moment. We are just trying to liaise with them ensure that cricket is being governed and the board is governed appropriately and in accordance with their constitution,” he said.

“The second is that their cricket is continuing to function. We have supported them and the team has performed at this event. You have seen their players in a number of event now. In terms of how our board will consider the situation in Afghanistan at its meeting next week, they will get a report on how things are travelling. They are going through a lot of change within the country and in terms of the relationship of the cricket board with the new regime.”

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