Afghanistan’s star spinner sidelined for the first two matches, is expected to return for the series finale
Rashid Khan being ruled out of ODI vs Sri Lanka: Afghanistan’s premier spinner, Rashid Khan, will be absent from the lineup for the opening two ODIs of the upcoming series against Sri Lanka due to a lower back injury. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) confirmed the news, expressing optimism about Rashid’s return for the final match on June 7.
As Rashid Khan being ruled out of ODI vs Sri Lanka: Having played a pivotal role in the Gujarat Titans’ campaign during the recently concluded IPL 2023, where they reached the finals but narrowly missed out on the title against the Chennai Super Kings, Rashid’s absence will undoubtedly be felt by Afghanistan. The 24-year-old leg-spinner finished the tournament with an impressive tally of 27 wickets, jointly holding the second-highest wicket count. Additionally, he showcased his batting prowess, amassing 130 runs at a strike rate of 216.67, including a remarkable 79 off just 32 balls against the Mumbai Indians.
As Rashid Khan being ruled out of ODI vs Sri Lanka, the ACB acknowledged Rashid’s back injury, noting that he would remain under close medical observation and aims to make a comeback for the series’ conclusive encounter. While Rashid’s absence poses a challenge, Afghanistan will rely on the leadership of Hashmatullah Shahidi and the skills of players such as Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, and Mohammad Nabi to compensate for the spinner’s temporary unavailability.
An opportunity to fine-tune the squad
The three-match ODI series is scheduled to commence on June 2, with all matches slated to take place at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota. This series serves as valuable preparation for both teams ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 Qualifiers in Zimbabwe. While Afghanistan has secured direct qualification for the World Cup, Sri Lanka will need to navigate the qualification round, making this series an important opportunity for them to fine-tune their strategies.
Sri Lanka’s Qualifier scenarios
As per Rashid Khan being ruled out of ODI vs Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka, eager to make a mark in the qualifiers, has assembled a formidable 15-member squad for the series against Afghanistan. Notably, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, and Sadeera Samarawickrama are returning to the ODI setup after an extended period of absence. Their campaign in the qualifiers begins on June 19 against the United Arab Emirates, and by being placed in Group B alongside Ireland, Scotland, and Oman, Sri Lanka aims to secure their spot in the World Cup.
Afghanistan to visit Bangladesh
Looking ahead, Afghanistan’s focus will shift to a tour of Bangladesh following the Sri Lanka series. The tour will kick off with a one-off Test match in Chattogram on June 14, marking the start of a comprehensive all-format series.
Youngsters to make a mark
As cricket enthusiasts eagerly anticipate Rashid Khan’s recovery and return, the news of Rashid Khan being ruled out of ODI vs Sri Lanka in the initial matches against Sri Lanka will undoubtedly test Afghanistan’s depth and adaptability, providing an opportunity for other talented players to shine on the international stage.
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