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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Former England star: World has “turned its back” on Afghan women cricketers

The former England cricketer Isa Guha has spoken out on the plight of Afghanistan’s women cricketers, saying that “the world has turned it’s back on them.”

Guha was speaking at the MCC’S Colin Cowdrey lecture at Lords Cricket Ground and used the platform to say that the International Cricket Council has “overlooked or ignored” their own constitution in failing to act.

“The game can probably do more to try and support these women and stand up to gender oppression,” former England international Isa Guha said.

Guha cited the loss of human rights which Afghan women have suffered since the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, saying it “raised concerns about the future of women’s rights, including participation in sports.”

“Imagine yourself waking up and you’ve lost all basic human rights, the idea of playing cricket is gone and that was something that gave you hope.”

Guha has previously called the situation of the Afghanistan women’s cricketers “a complex situation” and called Afghan women cricketers to be supported.

Last year members of the Afghanistan women’s team said they had no contact from the ICC, despite it setting up the Afghanistan Working Group in 2021 to “review the status of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and cricket in Afghanistan”.

There is increasing pressure on New Zealand Cricket to abandon a test match with Afghanistan later this year, for moral reasons.

The call comes after Australia called off a men’s T20 series against Afghanistan citing deteriorating human rights situation for women and girls. Australia also withdrew from a one-day series scheduled for March last year in the United Arab Emirates which prompted a strongly word response by the Afghanistan Cricket Board, and it’s star player Rashid Khan calling it “pathetic” with the leg spinner saying he was “really disappointed.”

Australia was one of the countries which invaded Afghanistan in 2001 alongside as U.S. led coalition and some of it’s soldiers have been found to have committed war crimes including murdering unarmed Afghan civilians.

After the Taliban takeover, the International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended Afghanistan’s membership, citing concerns over the Taliban’s stance on women’s cricket. The ICC emphasized that the suspension would be in place until further notice, pending clarification on the situation regarding the women’s game in Afghanistan.

At 17 years of age Isa Guha became the first Asian female to represent England’s women, making her debuted in 2002 against India. A right arm bowler fast-medium bowler she was part of the England team that won the 2009 world cup. Since her retirement from playing in 2012 Guha has transitioned into a career in cricket commentary and broadcasting including Test matches, the Indian Premier League (IPL) and was part of the commentary team for the 2023 Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

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