Australia‘s cricket board on Thursday said that it will not host the Afghanistan men’s cricket team for the proposed test match scheduled from November 27 if the women’s cricket team will not be supported in the Taliban-led country, reported ANI.

“Driving the growth of women’s cricket was “incredibly important” to the board. Our vision for cricket is that it is a sport for all and we support the game unequivocally for women at every level, Cricket Australia said in its official statement. 

The statement comes after the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan said that it will not allow the country’s women to play cricket as sporting activities would “expose their bodies.” 

“If recent media reports that women’s cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are substantiated, Cricket Australia would have no alternative but to not host Afghanistan for the proposed Test Match due to be played in Hobart,” the CA statement added. 

Speaking to reporters, Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission said that sports activities were not necessary for women.

“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket,” Wasiq said. “In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this,” he added.  

The cricket bodies across the world are concerned about the ban and said they are exploring options to counter this move by the Taliban.

Australia’s Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said the Taliban’s position was “deeply concerning” and urged international sports authorities, including the International Cricket Council (ICC), to take a stand against this appalling ruling.

The ICC, cricket’s global governing body, said it was also concerned about reports of the ban.

“This and the impact it will have on the continued development of the game will be discussed by the ICC Board at its next meeting,” an ICC spokesperson said in a statement.