Afghanistan have been dealt with a huge blow ahead of their three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka. Their star spinner Rashid Khan has been ruled out of the first two One-Day Internationals with a lower-back injury. This is the team's first assignment after IPL 2023 and Rashid played the entire season for Gujarat Titans who lost to CSK in the final. He picked up 27 wickets as well and played an important role for the Hardik Pandya-led side in the cash-rich league.
Coming back to the ODI series between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, Rashid Khan is expected to be available for the third and final ODI of the series. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) confirmed the development while stating that Rashid Khan will remain under medical observation throughout this period. Rashid recovering from injury soon enough is important for Afghanistan as they are scheduled to play a one-off Test match against Bangladesh in Chattogram later this month.
Meanwhile, the three-match ODI series is set to commence on June 2 while the next two matches are scheduled on June 4 and 7 respectively. All three matches will be played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota.
The ODI series is crucial for both teams, especially Sri Lanka who will be taking part in the World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe later this month. Afghanistan have already sealed their place in the mega event set to take place in India later this year and will be keen on starting their preparations for the World Cup. In Rashid's absence, the onus will be on Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Noor Ahmad to take up the responsibility in the spin department.
Afghanistan squad for ODI series vs Sri Lanka: Hashmatullah Shahidi (C), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ikram Alikhil, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Abdul Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad Malik