Cricket Australia therefore has the difficult, albeit inevitable, task of taking first position on a practical level after the shameful decision of the new Afghan government to ban women from any form of sporting activity. After consultation with the federal and state governments of Tasmania, Nick Hockley, the CEO of the Australian federation, in an official statement released a few hours ago said: “We will have no alternative to canceling the Test Match scheduled in Hobart on November 27th if the Afghan government will not unequivocally clarify its support for women’s cricket ”. It is, therefore, highly unlikely that the long-awaited inaugural clash between the two nations in the game’s supreme form, lasting five days, will take place.
Everything according to the script would have to be said were it not that cricket, in the variegated cosmos of international sport, holds a position of absolute peculiarity with a very strong hegemonic power held by India, the country that controls the purse strings of a constantly growing treasure. thanks to the television and streaming rights of the multiple tournaments. This situation is the result of a troubled evolution that took place in the last years of the last millennium when Australia and England, apparently spontaneously, gave up their right of veto, like the UN Security Council, as founding members of International Cricket. Council (ICC). This realignment led to a new equilibrium in which the two constituents, together with New Zealand, suddenly found themselves a minority in the context of a 10-member assembly comprising seven culturally non-European entities (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa , West Indies and Zimbabwe).
The last twenty years have been characterized by the growth of many Asian realities with particular regard to the Persian Gulf states and, above all, to Afghanistan. Indeed, Afghan cricket was born in exile, when many of the displaced, who fled to Pakistan after the Soviet invasion of 1980, began practicing it in refugee camps. Upon returning home, they brought the game with them, raising it as a symbol of a country that has always been marginal in the international arena. Strengthened by the unlikely joint support of India and Pakistan, two governments that have historically been in perpetual disagreement with each other, the Afghan national team quickly climbed the world ranking at the turn of 2010. Finally, in 2017, the arrival in the elite of the ICC arrived with the elevation to full member.
As in the rest of the world, in Italy too there was no shortage of immediate declarations of support for the Australian ruling. The president of CONI, Giovanni Malagò was peremptory: “Everything that can be done, within the limits of a national authority, the world of sport not only can but must do”. The president of the Italian Cricket Federation, Fabio Marabini, is even more explicit: “We fully support the Australian resolution. A regime that, among its first acts, militarily occupied the headquarters of the Afghanistan Cricket Council and announced the exclusion of women from the world of sports cannot participate in any civil forum. After years of major economic efforts by the ICC in a battered country, just now that fundamental discriminatory barriers had been broken down, this decision represents a leap back half a century. “
For the ICC, however, ousting Afghanistan means throwing overboard just under a billion dollars, invested since the beginning of the millennium in the development of the game in the country. This fact, combined with the suspicion with which many nations at the top of the movement look at the Western world, makes it clear that it is not obvious that the former buffer state, between the British and Russian empires, will receive the red card from the international body. It will not take long to know, considering that the T20 World Cricket World Cup in which Afghanistan is expected to participate will begin on 17 October in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.