Cricket Australia has confirmed the expected, postponing its historic first-ever test match against Afghanistan due to a reported ban on women’s cricket in the çentral Asian country.
The match was scheduled to begin on Nov. 27. Two months ago, Cricket Australia announced it would have “no alternative” but to scrap the one-off test following reports that women’s cricket would be banned in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover.
On Friday, Cricket Australia confirmed the test would not go ahead as scheduled, with an internal three-day match in Brisbane to replace the fixture as the Australian test team prepares for the Ashes series against England.
“Following extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders, Cricket Australia and the Afghanistan Cricket Board have agreed to postpone the inaugural men’s test match,” CA said in a statement.
“CA is committed to support growing the game for women and men in Afghanistan and around the world, however, given the present uncertainty, CA felt it necessary to postpone the Test match until a later time when the situation is clearer. CA looks forward to hosting Afghanistan players in the BBL this season, who are great ambassadors for the game, and to hosting both the Afghanistan women’s and men’s team in the not too distant future.”
It marks the fourth test match Australia has postponed in 2021, with a three-match tour of South Africa also abandoned earlier this year due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Captain Tim Paine’s side will subsequently enter the highly-anticipated Ashes series having not played any test cricket in 11 months.
Afghanistan all-rounder and national T20 captain Mohammed Nabi said: “It’s disappointing the test match isn’t going ahead this year but I’m happy that the match is only postponed and not canceled.
“My representative has been assured by Cricket Australia that they remain committed to the development of cricket in Afghanistan, so I look forward to hearing how we can work together in this regard.”
England has also had its tour matches confirmed with a three-day warm-up match between the England men’s team and the England Lions scheduled at Redlands in Brisbane from Nov. 23-25.
The two England sides will also play a four-day warm-up match at Ian Healy Oval in Brisbane from Nov. 30-Dec. 3.
That will be the final preparation for England before the first of five tests in the Ashes series begins at the Gabba in Brisbane on Dec. 8.
The second Australia-England test is scheduled to be played in Adelaide from Dec. 16-20, the third from Dec. 26-30 in Melbourne, the fourth from Jan. 5-9 in Sydney and the final test from Jan. 14-18 in Perth. The Perth test is subject to further negotiations with Western Australian state officials over current quarantine restrictions that might still be in effect in mid-January.
Australia holds the Ashes, having beaten England in Australia in 2017-18 and then keeping it when the 2019 series in England was drawn.