The Afghan cricket team has received approval for a Test match in Australia, raising some hopes the Taliban will refrain from a blanket ban on all forms of entertainment as it did in the 1990s.

Members of the Afghan Cricket National Team practice during their team's first training camp after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country at the Kabul national cricket stadium in Kabul in June.
Members of the Afghan Cricket National Team practice during their team's first training camp after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country at the Kabul national cricket stadium in Kabul in June. (Rahmat Gul / AP)

The Taliban group has approved Afghanistan's first cricket Test since their takeover, raising hopes that international matches will continue as usual under their rule.

"We have got approval to send the team to Australia," chief executive of the Afghanistan Cricket Board Hamid Shinwari told the news agency AFP on Wednesday.

During their first stint in power, before they were ousted in 2001, the Taliban banned most forms of entertainment - including many sports - and stadiums were used as public execution venues.

But the group has promised to enforce a less strict version of Islamic law this time, after seizing the capital Kabul last month.

The Test match, to be played in Hobart from November 27-December 1, was scheduled for last year but was put off due to the Covid-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions.

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It will be Afghanistan's first Test in Australia.

Before the Australia tour, the Afghanistan team will feature in the Twenty20 World Cup, to be held in the United Arab Emirates from October 17-November 15.

Shinwari also confirmed Afghanistan's Under-19 cricket team will tour Bangladesh for a bi-lateral later this month.

Since the evacuation of the US and NATO forces from Afghanistan after the Taliban swept into Kabul last month, there were fears that cricket and other sports would be hit.

But ACB officials categorically said that cricket was supported by the Taliban.

Afghanistan's home ODI series against Pakistan - shifted to Sri Lanka - was however cancelled until next year over logistical and Covid-19 issues last week.

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Source: AFP