After the Taliban took over power, Afghanistan’s participation in the T20 World Cup next month is becoming a matter of curiosity. Following the Taliban’s capture, the top officials of the cricket board in Afghanistan were suddenly removed from their posts and women’s cricket has been banned. Naseebullah Haqqani has replaced Hamid Shinwari, executive director of the Afghanistan Cricket Board.
Amid growing concerns about the future of the game in Afghanistan, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is likely to push for the Taliban flag instead of the Afghan flag in the T20 World Cup starting October 17 in the UAE and Oman. If any such request is made, the ICC Board of Directors will implicitly reject any such request.
Barring Pakistan, it is not yet clear whether other countries will be ready to play against the changed flag of Afghanistan. The Taliban government in Pakistan has full support and supporters include former captain Shahid Afridi. The world’s top T20 player Rashid Khan is present in the team. The traditional flag of Afghanistan is black, red, and green.
An ICC board member said, ‘It is too early to say anything now. So far no request has been made to play under the Taliban flag but as far as operations are concerned, the ICC Board needs to make a decision on it. Everyone is keeping an eye on the situation in Afghanistan. In general, if the ICC bans a cricket board, it makes sure that the players are not affected by it. Be it Rashid Khan or Mohammad Nabi, there is no fault of anyone. ‘
According to the ICC Membership Criteria, “an applicant must have the appropriate status, structure, accreditation, membership, and competence in the country to be recognized by the ICC, to act as the principal governing body and to be the governing body of the sport in the country”. Be responsible for the administration, management, and development of cricket (men and women). In this, the member country has to create a satisfactory infrastructure for women’s cricket as well and create a large pool of players.
Afghanistan has already committed serious breaches of the required criteria after the Taliban banned women’s cricket. According to Shinwari, the changes in the Afghanistan Cricket Board have been made on the insistence of Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the new Taliban Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani (of the terrorist organization Haqqani Network).