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Tea Leaves

How the Taliban have divided the cricket world

Ban on women's matches threatens men's tour of Australia

Afghan girls play Cricket in Kandahar, the former Taliban stronghold and the birthplace of Taliban's spiritual leader late Mullah Omar, ahead of World Women Day in March 2018.    © EPA/Jiji

I loved cricket when I was growing up in England, the home of the game, but don't remember any female participation in the sport. Now, I have nieces and nephews who play in mixed adult teams, and the women's professional game has developed in leaps and bounds.

The same is true at the top of the game. In 2017, the International Cricket Council, the sport's governing body, made the Afghanistan Cricket Board, a state-backed body, a full member on the understanding that the women's game would be developed -- with the council's help. In November last year, 40 Afghan female players were invited to a training camp organized by the ACB, and 25 were awarded contracts.

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