Afghanistan’s star spinner, Rashid Khan, has been sidelined from the first two One Day Internationals (ODIs) against Sri Lanka due to a lower-back injury. The Afghanistan Cricket Board has confirmed that Rashid will undergo comprehensive medical monitoring and is anticipated to make a return for the final ODI on June 7.
The three-match ODI series between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka is scheduled to commence on June 2, with the second encounter set to take place just two days later at the same venue. Following the ODI series, Afghanistan will face Bangladesh in a one-off Test match in Chattogram, only a week after the conclusion of the ODI games.
Rashid Khan was recently participating in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as a key member of the Gujarat Titans team. Unfortunately, his team fell short in the final against the Chennai Super Kings on Monday night. However, Rashid’s individual performance in the tournament was commendable, as he finished as the joint second-highest wicket-taker, having claimed 27 wickets.
With Rashid Khan’s absence, the spin department will need to rely on the trio of Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Noor Ahmad to step up and assume additional responsibilities. Noor Ahmad, who also represented the Gujarat Titans in the IPL, performed impressively, capturing 16 wickets from 13 matches with an economy rate of 7.82. Despite his notable IPL stint, Noor has only played one ODI and one T20I for Afghanistan thus far.
Last month, Afghanistan announced a robust 15-member squad led by Hashmatullah Shahidi for the ODI series against Sri Lanka. Having already secured direct qualification for the upcoming ODI World Cup, Afghanistan will view this series as an opportunity to fine-tune their preparations for the marquee event. On the other hand, Sri Lanka will approach the series as a build-up for the Qualifier tournament in Zimbabwe, commencing on June 18.