Hobart’s Hazara community to decide the fate of the Australia-Afghanistan Test

Back in 1996-2001, the Taliban persecuted Hazaras, a religious minority and Afghanistan’s third-largest ethnic group.

Bellerive Oval
Bellerive Oval. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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Peter Gutwein, the Premier of Tasmania, will reach out to the Hobart’s Hazara community to determine whether the upcoming Test between Afghanistan and Australia should take place or not. The match was earlier scheduled to be held in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to its postponement. The match at the Bellerive Oval is set to get underway on November 27.

Tasmania hasn’t hosted a Test match since 2016 and the upcoming Test is a significant one, both for Cricket Tasmania and Aussie Test skipper Tim Paine. During a state budget estimates hearing on Monday, September 6, Gutwein was clear cut in stating that the reports surrounding the future of women’s sport in Afghanistan are particularly concerning.

Earlier, the Taliban, after its takeover of Afghanistan, declared that it wants the Test match to happen later this year. For the time being, whether the game happens or not remains to be seen.

Fate of Australia-Afghanistan Test hangs in balance

“I have very real concerns as to whether or not the state should hold that match without some very clear commitments being made around it, in terms of the future of women’s sport,” Gutwein was quoted as saying in ESPNcricinfo.

“What I intend to do, in terms of that match going ahead, is reach out to the Hazara community later this week and have a chat with the local communities here to get a sense as to their view.”

Back in 1996-2001, the Taliban persecuted Hazaras, a religious minority and Afghanistan’s third-largest ethnic group. However, the Taliban has promised to be more moderate after coming back to power.

“We’ll be seeking to engage with the Australian Cricket Board (Cricket Australia) and I want to get the feedback from our local community as well,” Gutwein stated.

“If our local community felt that it would be sensible and perhaps confidence building to allow that match to go ahead then obviously that’s a different matter. But I think we need to get some advice,” Gutwein added.

Recently, Hamid Shinwari, the chief executive of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, stated that talks with Cricket Australia are currently underway. He also mentioned that CA and ACB are in conversation regarding a T20I tri-series at the neutral venue in October before the T20 World Cup.