Cricket Australia says it has postponed the men’s bilateral T20 series as ‘conditions for women and girls in Afghanistan are getting worse’.

Cricket Australia (CA) has been slammed after it postponed a bilateral men’s T20 cricket series against Afghanistan citing “deteriorating human rights for women and girls in the country under Taliban rule”.

Australia has previously cancelled a one-off Test match and a one-day international (ODI) series against Afghanistan for the same reason, but had then said it kept “the door ajar for future bilateral series on the proviso of improved conditions for women and girls in the country”.

CA said on Tuesday that it made its latest decision to call off the scheduled series for August upon receiving advice from the Australian government that “conditions for women and girls in Afghanistan are getting worse”.

“For this reason, we have maintained our previous position,” cricket’s governing body in the country said in its statement.

Afghanistan were expected to host Australia in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, their de facto home ground, for the three-match series in August.

The Taliban have termed the decision hypocritical as the Australian cricket team played Afghanistan during last year’s 50-over ICC Cricket World Cup in India and Afghan players have been part of the Big Bash League, an Australian franchise-based T20 tournament.

“They [Australia] don’t mind playing [against] us when it’s in their favour, when they don’t have a choice or when it works for them and it shows their hypocrisy,” Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban’s spokesman in Doha, told Al Jazeera.

“When they ask our [Afghan] players to be part of their league, they suddenly forget about women’s rights but when it’s in their interest to ignore us they talk about women.”

Shaheen said that Australia and CA were “trying to impose their own culture and values through sports”.

The Afghan women’s cricket team has not participated in international tournaments since the Taliban regime took over in August 2021. Two months later, an Afghan cricket official told Al Jazeera that the Taliban have “no problem with women taking part in sport”.

At present, Afghanistan is the only full-member nation of the International Cricket Council (ICC) without a women’s team.

However, several members of the Afghan women’s team fled the country and have been living in exile in Canada and Australia.

Shaheen said the Taliban regime wants to resolve issues according to its own values.

“This isn’t about whether women can play cricket or not – it is a political decision which has been imposed on sportsmen,” he added.

The row overshadowed their encounter during the World Cup and Afghan fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq took to social media to call out Australia for cancelling the bilateral series.

“Refusing to play the bilateral series, now it will be interesting to see cricket Australia stand in the World Cup #standards #human rights or 2 points,” Naveen wrote on Instagram.

In an interview with Al Jazeera ahead of the clash, Afghanistan’s English coach Jonathan Trott chose not to comment on the matter but said his team respected “every opposition and the game of cricket”.

“It’s our job to be good ambassadors for the game and for the country. And our players certainly bring a lot of smiles to a lot of people in Afghanistan and around the world.”

Cricket fans and experts also lamented CA’s decision on social media.

“Funny how the situation for women and girls in Afghanistan deteriorates whenever Australia are about to play them in bilateral cricket, but then improves whenever they have to play them in a World Cup,” cricket writer Ben Gardner said in a post on X.

The two countries have been drawn in different groups in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup that will be played in the United States and the Caribbean in June. However, they could come face to face should they proceed to the Super Eight stage of the tournament.

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