Aussies face ‘double standards’ blast over Afghanistan World Cup clash

Australia star Steve Smith said the decision to let the team play Afghanistan in a World Cup crunch match was “above my pay grade” as Cricket Australia faced allegations of “double standards”.

Earlier this year, CA called off a three-match one-day international series against Afghanistan on the grounds that the Taliban, who regained power in 2021, had placed new limits on education and work opportunities for Afghan women and girls. including women’s cricket.

Ahead of Tuesday’s high-stakes match in Mumbai, Afghanistan fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq took to social media to point out the hypocrisy of CA abandoning the one-day games but going ahead with a World Cup game. where he had something to lose.

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

However, former Australia captain Smith told a pre-match press conference at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Monday: “Obviously we played against Afghanistan in the recent T20 World Cup at home and we are playing tomorrow (Tuesday ) so it’s not an issue. to me, it’s way above my pay grade.” Cricket Australia had earlier responded to Naveen’s post, with a spokesperson telling News Corp Australia: “CA has taken the decision not to go ahead with the three-match ODI series against of Afghanistan in March after the Taliban announced further restrictions on women’s rights including educational and employment opportunities and access to parks and gymnasiums. CA control compared to playing in a World Cup competition which is an ICC (International Cricket Council event) and subject to its regulations.”

Tuesday’s World Cup match has plenty of significance for both sides, with emerging nation Afghanistan still in contention for a semi-final place after winning four of seven pool games so far during the competitions.

Five-time champions Australia, meanwhile, still need to win one of their final group games, against Afghanistan and Bangladesh, to secure a place in the final stage.

There have been boycotts and walkouts at previous World Cups, with both Australia and the West Indies forfeiting matches in Sri Lanka during the 1996 edition for security reasons.

England also refused to play a match against 2003 co-hosts Zimbabwe, citing safety concerns, with the points lost contributing to their early exit from that edition.

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