Politics and Paine for Test skipper to ponder
AUSTRALIAN captain Tim Paine said he would take the field against an Afghan cricket side representing a Taliban government – but only when it has international approval.
Afghanistan is scheduled to play its first ever Test match against Australia in Hobart in November, but the return of the Taliban as the country’s rulers has threatened that game.
A Taliban spokesman said earlier this week it had no issue with the Test going ahead.
However, for an association to have Test match status from the International Cricket
Council, it must have a women’s program and the Taliban has vehemently opposed women’s sport previously.
This is the backdrop for Paine ahead of his first and most likely only Test in his home state.
Asked if he was happy to take the field against Afghanistan if it goes ahead, a cautious Paine said: “I think so, if it is ticked off above the ICC.
“The United Nations and that sort of stuff will have a fair bit to say with any country dealing with Afghanistan and the Taliban or whoever is running control for that country, we will have to wait and see.”
Paine said this was a far bigger discussion than just whether a cricket match should proceed. “This probably goes beyond cricket,” he said.
“I’d like to think the decision around that Test match or dealings around a certain country would be made at a United Nations level, not at a cricket level.
“You leave that side to that level of discussion and they make those kinds of decisions and then cricket and a Test match is a long way second thought after that.
“But we will be guided by international politics.”
He said Cricket Australia was yet to discuss the Afghanistan situation with the players.