Star Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan, who recently played the India Premier League (IPL) 2023 final against Chennai Super Kings earlier this week, has been ruled out of the first two matches of the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka with a lower back injury.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has said the ace spinner will “remain under full medical observation, and is likely to make a return in the the final ODI of the series on June 7.
Notably, the three-match ODI series begin with the first ODI in Hambantota on Friday (June 2), with the second game to be played two days later at the same venue.
Notably, Rashid was Gujarat Titan’s second-most successful bowler in the just concluded season of the cash-rich league and was the tournament’s joint second-highest wicket-taker with 27 scalps.
In Rashid’s absence, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Noor Ahmad will look after the Afghanistan spin department against the islanders.
Notably, Noor too, had a successful outing in IPL 2023 for the Titans, picking 16 wickets from 13 games at an economy of 7.82. However, he has only played just a single ODI and T20I for Afghanistan.
In May 2023, Afghanistan had announced a strong 15-member squad, led by Hashmatullah Shahidi, for the Sri Lanka ODIs.
After sealing a direct qualification for the upcoming 2023 ODI World Cup in India, Afghanistan will be looking at the Sri Lanka series as a war-up and for preparations for the showpiece event which will be held in October-November.
On the other hand hosts Sri Lanka will treat the upcoming series as a build-up for the Qualifier tournament in Zimbabwe, starting on June 18.
Just after a week of the ODI series, Afghanistan are scheduled to play a one-off Test against Bangladesh in Chattogram where Rashid is expected to play a crucial role being the team’s most experienced player.