Afghanistan accused Australia of ‘double standards’ as the teams meet in Mumbai with a view to qualifying for the semifinals.
WHO: Afghanistan vs Australia
When: Tuesday, November 7, 2023, 2pm (08:30 GMT)
where: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, India
Australia faces allegations of “double standards” from Afghanistan as the teams meet for their ICC Cricket World Cup match at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium with an eye on the semifinals.
In the run-up to Tuesday’s high-stakes match, Afghanistan fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq took to social media to suggest there was an element of hypocrisy in Cricket Australia (CA) scrapping the three-match series. one-day international (ODI) series against them but went on to a World Cup match when the five-time champions had something to lose.
“Refusing to play bilateral series, now interesting to see cricket Australia stand in World Cup #standards #human rights or 2 points,” Naveen wrote on Instagram.
CA abandoned the series in March on the grounds that the Taliban, which regained power in 2021, placed limits on education and employment opportunities for Afghan girls and women, including women cricketers.
Australia star Steve Smith said the decision to play Afghanistan in a crunch World Cup match was “above my pay grade”.
“We obviously played against Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup at home recently, and we will play tomorrow [Tuesday], so it’s not a question for me. More than my pay grade,” the former Australia captain said at a press conference on Monday.
All eyes on the semifinal qualification
The Australian board earlier responded to Naveen’s post with a spokesperson telling News Corp Australia: “CA has taken the decision not to continue the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan in March following the notification by the Taliban further restrictions on women’s rights, including education and employment opportunities and access to parks and gymnasiums.
“There is a difference between playing a bilateral series against Afghanistan, which is under CA control, compared to playing a World Cup tournament, which is an ICC one. [International Cricket Council] event and subject to their regulations.”
Tuesday’s World Cup match has a lot of meaning for both sides with newcomers Afghanistan still in contention for a semifinal spot after winning four of their seven pool games so far during the tournament.
Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi said he had no interest in recalling the past in such an important fixture.
“I think now we have a game tomorrow in the World Cup. If we focus on that instead of these things [the CA’s position on Afghanistan]it will be better,” said Shahidi to reporters on Monday.
On the other hand, five-time champion Australia still needs to win one of their last two group games against Afghanistan and Bangladesh to earn a place in the knockout stage.
– ICC Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) November 6, 2023
Both teams head into the match with a good run of form and are very confident of their chances of qualifying for the semifinals.
Head to head
Australia have led in all three of their ODI meetings with Afghanistan.
Afghanistan team news
Naveen, whose position has fueled controversy, could return to the Afghanistan side after being dropped in the last game and replace left-arm spinner Noor Ahmad.
There are no injury concerns for Afghanistan.
Australia team news
Smith is suffering from a new bout of vertigo, a condition that has affected him several times in recent years.
“I’ve had a little vertigo thing for the last day or so, so it’s been a little annoying,” Smith said.
All-rounder Mitchell Marsh has returned to India following the death of his grandfather, and Glenn Maxwell is back in contention after missing the win over England last time out after suffering concussion in a golf buggy fall.