Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockey said it was “a very complex and challenging situation” in relation to Afghanistan.
“We’re talking to the ICC [International Cricket Council] and the Australian government and seeking their advice in relation to the Test,” Hockley said.
“It’s a challenging situation and it’s all relatively new. I know the ICC are seeking to understand the situation.
“As it stands today, Afghanistan are a full member of the ICC and my understanding is that they’re planning to compete in the T20 World Cup.
“We all want to see cricket thrive for both women and men all around the world. But we don’t have all the answers right now and there’ll be a number of discussions over coming weeks.”
Hockley claimed that even if Afghanistan played in the Twenty20 World Cup, scheduled for the UAE from mid-October to mid-November, this would not mean the Hobart Test would automatically continue, saying the final decision rests with the Australian Government.
In late August Foreign Minister Marise Payne was signatory to a strongly worded statement from 69 countries demanding the human rights of Afghani women and girls be protected.
The latest news on the Hobart Test came as Cricket Australia said it was banking on high vaccination rates to ensure the Boxing Day and New Year’s Ashes Tests take place in Melbourne and Sydney this summer.
Shepherd told the Herald and The Age that vaccine passports were “well on the way”.
“The Federal Government is almost there. I would expect we’ll have a vaccination passport with a QR code coming out as soon as this month,” he said.
“That’s essential. If we want to have fans back at games we’re going to have to have that.
“We want people to be able to go to restaurants and bars and the movies and the theatre and we’ve got to have a vaccination passport. You’ve got to be able to get in quickly without queuing and checking everyone’s phone.”
Hockley said that while mandating vaccination passports was up to the federal government, a high vaccination rate was likely to allow the five Test Ashes to go ahead as scheduled.
“I think we take a degree of optimism from vaccination rates,” Hockley said. “We’re hopeful that with vaccination rates increasing that we will be able to complete the series as currently scheduled.”
Hockley pointed to the sellout crowds for the England-India five-Test series in England, with the United Kingdom dropping COVID-19 restrictions because of high vaccination rates.
With the background threats of withdrawal from England players if they can’t bring wives and girlfriends on the Ashes tour, Cricket Australia is working closely with governments to facilitate a smooth passage.
“I have a high degree of empathy for all international sports people and international cricketers particularly,” Hockley said.
“England have played more international cricket and spent more time in bubbles than probably any other country. They’ve coming straight from the Twenty20 World Cup into a long Ashes tour.
“As we did with India last year, we’re working sensitively and constructively with governments to try and put in the best possible plans for players and support staff for both the England squad and our own squad.
“We’ll be in the same boat coming back from the Twenty20 World Cup together. We’re in regular dialogue with both the ECB [England Cricket Board] and with governments. We’re getting right into the details of those plans.
“Both us and the ECB want to absolutely field our best possible teams with optimal conditions for them to compete at their absolute best in what is ultimately the biggest stage in world cricket.”
COVID-19 has already forced multiple schedule changes in Australia this season. The Australian Women’s Test and white ball series against India has been relocated to Queensland while the state-based men’s Marsh One-Day Cup has been postponed along with Victoria’s opening Sheffield Shield match against NSW.
Pending approvals, NSW players and staff are expected to fly to Howard Springs in the Northern Territory this week to undergo two weeks of quarantine before beginning their season. Victoria will then arrive for their own NT quarantine two weeks later.
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