Afghanistan’s cricket team faces a setback as star spinner Rashid Khan is ruled out of the upcoming one-off Test match against Sri Lanka, scheduled to commence on February 2. Rashid Khan, still on the path to full recovery following a back injury and subsequent surgery post the ODI World Cup, will miss yet another crucial fixture, leaving Afghanistan’s bowling attack in search of alternatives.
Squad Adjustments in Rashid Khan’s Absence
In the absence of Rashid Khan, wrist spinner Qais Ahmad has been summoned to bolster Afghanistan’s spin department. Ahmad, with limited Test experience, holds the responsibility of filling the void left by Rashid Khan’s absence. Joining Ahmad is young spinner Zia-ur-Rehman, providing further depth to Afghanistan’s spin arsenal.
Additionally, the return of Noor Ali Zadran adds batting prowess to the squad, as the seasoned player gears up to make his comeback at the senior level. Mohammad Ishaq, an uncapped wicketkeeper-batter, and Naveed Zadran, a promising right-arm medium-pacer, further fortify Afghanistan’s squad for the upcoming challenge.
Notable Exclusions and Retained Players
Despite their past contributions, all-rounders Karim Janat and Amir Hamza find themselves excluded from the squad, signalling a shift in Afghanistan’s selection strategy. Meanwhile, batters Ibrahim Zadran, Abdul Malik, and Rahmat Shah retain their positions, albeit under scrutiny following their team’s resounding defeat against Bangladesh last summer.
Afghanistan’s cricketing journey in the Test arena has been characterized by a lack of exposure and experience, with only seven matches played since 2018. This dearth of Test cricket exposure poses a significant challenge as they prepare to face Sri Lanka, a team aiming to bounce back after a series loss against Pakistan in 2023.
As Afghanistan braces for their encounter against Sri Lanka, the absence of Rashid Khan presents a formidable obstacle for the team. However, with a reshuffled squad comprising both seasoned campaigners and promising talents, Afghanistan aims to overcome this setback and deliver a competitive performance on the international stage. As the cricketing world awaits the outcome of this one-off Test clash, the spotlight remains on Afghanistan’s resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity.
Afghanistan squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Ibrahim Zadran, Abdul Malik, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah (vc), Bahir Shah, Nasir Jamal, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Mohammad Ishaq (wk), Qais Ahmad, Zia-ur-Rehman, Zahir Khan, Yamin Ahmadzai, Nijat Masood, Mohammad Saleem and Naveed Zadran