New Delhi: Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan, who played the India Premier League (IPL) 2023 final against Chennai Super Kings earlier this week, has suffered a lower back injury and is ruled out of the first two matches of the three match ODI series against Sri Lanka starting on Friday.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board stated that Rashid will “remain under full medical observation, and is expected to return for the final ODI on June 7”.
The three-match series begins with the first ODI in Hambantota on Friday (June 2), with the second game will be played two days later at the same ground.
Just seven days after the ODI series, Afghanistan are scheduled to play a one-off Test against Bangladesh in Chattogram and Rashid’s presence will be crucial as he will be their main spinner.
Rashid was Gujarat Titan’s second-most successful bowler in the IPL 2023 behind Mohammad Shami as his side lost the final to Chennai Super Kings on Monday night. He was the tournament’s joint second-highest wicket-taker with 27 strikes.
In Rashid’s absence, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Noor Ahmad will have to shoulder extra responsibility in the spin department for Afghanistan.
Noor also had a successful IPL stint for the Titans, grabbing 16 wickets from 13 games at an economy of 7.82. However, he has played only one ODI and one T20I for Afghanistan.
Last month, Afghanistan announced a strong 15-member squad, led by Hashmatullah Shahidi, for the Sri Lanka ODIs.
Having sealed direct qualification for the upcoming ODI World Cup, Afghanistan are looking at the series against Sri Lanka to get their preparations going for the marquee event to be held in India in October-November.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will treat it as a build-up for the Qualifier tournament in Zimbabwe, starting on June 18.