Cricket in Afghanistan share the same passion about the sport like cricket in Pakistan, India or Bangladesh can share. But being a troubled country the men’s cricket team in Afghanistan has struggled a lot but yet could shine at a top-level by playing in ICC World Twenty20 last year. If men’s cricket is struggling to get themselves up to the mark then one can easily imagine the position of women’s cricket in Afghanistan. It is not that after the Taliban regime ended in Afghanistan there was no women’s cricket it was there but then it struggled to grow and these days it is near to its death bed.
The national women’s cricket team was formed in 2010 amid some Taliban threats along with insecurity and conservative beliefs which have been there for ages now. It was a very difficult time as there were not enough players even to make a complete XI. The newly appointed chairman of Afghanistan’s cricket board Nasiumullah Danish even told the news agency Reuters that women’s cricket never existed in the country. There was never been a situation in the country, where they can develop cricket in Afghanistan for their cricket-loving women.
On the other hand, the women activists of the country still believe that there is a possibility if the Afghan women get institutional support despite having an atmosphere where men do not like their sisters and daughters to go out and play a sport in public. The founder of the Women’s team Diana Barakzai told Reuters that the funds are there for the development of women’s cricket but the cricket board of Afghanistan is the main obstacle as they believe women should not leave their home without any escort or they should not be learning a sport. Diana said that she has over 3700 girl cricketers ready to play cricket across Afghanistan as most of them learned cricket in Pakistani refugee camps.
On one side Nasiumullah Danish has big plans for the men’s cricket Diana Barakzai is just hoping that the game should at least start for their gender. But Danish still hopes that their target of Afghani women playing in the 2025 ICC Women’s World Cup is still achievable despite he regularly gets threat by the Taliban is not to encourage women’s cricket as it is against Islam.
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Actually the problem within the problem is that both Danish and Diana have huge problems with each other and they always have something to say about each other. One can only hope that these two officials first bury their hatchet and then work together to bring the Afghan women on the center stage of cricket.
In the PIC: Diana Barakzai
Picture Courtesy: Reuters