12-Feb-2024 • 10 hrs ago
Afghanistan will continue to miss the services of their T20I captain Rashid Khan as he recovers from back surgery and has thus not been included in the 16-member squad for the upcoming three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who, as per a release by the ACB, had sustained “a sprain in his right phalanx (hand)” before the start of the ODI series against Sri Lanka, is also ruled out. Fast bowler Mohammad Saleem, who has failed to recover from a hamstring injury, is missing too.
Afghanistan made four changes to the squad that faced India in a T20I series last month. While Mujeeb and Saleem are out injured, Afghanistan have dropped wicketkeeper-batter Ikram Alikhil and top-order batter Rahmat Shah.
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Mohammad Ishaq, the wicketkeeper-batter who was also named in the squad for the one-off Test against Sri Lanka, has received a call-up to the T20I side. In addition, fast bowler Wafadar Momand has been recalled in place of Saleem.
Mujeeb played two T20Is against India, and then turned out for Gulf Giants in the ILT20 before flying to Sri Lanka for the ODI series, where he suffered the injury. Saleem, on the other hand, played the third T20I against India and the lone Test against Sri Lanka but was ruled out of the ODI squad due to a hamstring injury.
Rashid, meanwhile, has not played competitive cricket since the ODI World Cup in November. He withdrew from the BBL this season, after which he underwent back surgery and was subsequently ruled out of SA20 as well.
More recently, Rashid also pulled out of the upcoming PSL as he continues his rehab. Rashid was originally part of the series against India but was ruled out even before the T20Is began, though he did travel with the team throughout.
In Rashid’s absence, Ibrahim Zadran will continue leading the T20I side, like he had against both India and UAE. He will have Gurbaz at the top of the order, with the likes of Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Hazratullah Zazai and Azmatullah Omarzai to follow. Fazalhaq Farooqi will lead the fast-bowling attack, which also has Naveen-ul-Haq, Fareed Ahmad and Momand. Noor Ahmad and Qais Ahmad, alongside Sharafuddin Ashraf, will form a young spin-bowling unit.
Afghanistan have not had a great time in Sri Lanka so far. They lost the only Test by ten wickets, and are currently 0-2 down in the three-match ODI series. The T20I series gets underway on February 17, with the second and third games slotted for February 19 and 21, respectively. All matches will be played in Dambulla.
Afghanistan squad: Ibrahim Zadran (capt), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Mohammad Ishaq (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Karim Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Noor Ahmad, Wafadar Momand and Qais Ahmad
Rashid KhanMujeeb Ur RahmanMohammad SaleemIkram AlikhilMohammad IshaqWafadar MomandAfghanistanSri Lanka vs Afghanistan