ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: Will Australia forfeit match against Afghanistan? Steve Smith answers
Australian batsman Steve Smith attended the press conference ahead of Afghanistan clash in CWC 2023.
Australia are gearing up for a crucial showdown against Afghanistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. The match is set to happen at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday, November 7. With just one win needed from their remaining two matches, Australia are on the cusp of securing a spot in the top 4. In the meantime, Afghanistan have been delivering an exceptional performance in the tournament, clinching victories in four out of seven matches, and positioning themselves as strong contenders for a semi-final spot.
It’s worth noting that Afghanistan’s direct qualification for the World Cup was made possible following Australia’s decision to withdraw from a three-match ODI series against them back in March this year. Australia’s move was in response to concerns over the Taliban-imposed restrictions on women’s education and employment, inadvertently contributing to Afghanistan’s World Cup qualification.
Few days before the game, Naveen-ul-Haq, the Afghan fast bowler, has questioned Australia’s stance in the World Cup. He took to social media to inquire whether they prioritize human rights over two points. In his social media post, Naveen pondered,“Refusing to play the bilateral series, now it will be interesting to see cricket Australia stand in the World Cup #standards #humanrights or 2 points.”
Asadullah Khan, the chief selector of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), is also now seeking a response from Cricket Australia. He stated, “Let’s see what CA stands for now. Whether they will stand for humanitarian rights as they did earlier this year or go for two points, which seem to be very important in their bid to qualify for the semifinals.”
During the press conference before the match, Steve Smith faced a question regarding the decision to proceed with the game despite Cricket Australia’s firm stance in canceling the Afghanistan series earlier this year.
The reporter asked, “Given how strong Cricket Australia were in cancelling the Afghanistan series earlier this year, are you surprised to be playing this match because the reason they gave at the time doesn’t seem to have changed at all?”
In response to the reporter’s question about Cricket Australia’s decision to play the match despite their prior cancellation of the Afghanistan series, Steve Smith commented, “Yeah, I mean, it’s a decision that’s made by higher authorities. We’ve played against Afghanistan in the recent T20 World Cup at home, and we’re set to play tomorrow, so it’s not a decision that I have control over. It’s beyond my pay grade.”
Steve Smith’s Impression of Afghanistan’s World Cup Performance
Steve Smith was also questioned, “Can I just ask, what’s impressed you about the Afghanistan team’s performances at this World Cup particularly?”
Smith mentioned that Afghanistan have performed well in crucial moments against strong teams. He highlighted the skill of their spin bowlers and the aggressive approach of their top-order batsmen, who can quickly turn the game in their favor. Steve also recognized the significant progress Afghanistan has made over the past five to six years, making them a tough opponent that requires a strong performance to defeat.
Steve Smith responded, ” I think they’ve won some key moments in games against some good teams and clearly their spinners are a big threat, they’re quality bowlers and they’ve got some batters particularly at the top of the order that are taking the game on and can take it away from you. They’re a good side and I think they’ve come a long way in the last five or six years. So, I think they’re a tough side and you’ve got to play well to beat them. “