Hashmatullah Shahidi is set to lead Afghanistan in the ODI series against Sri Lanka
Star spinner Rashid Khan will be sidelined for Afghanistan's opening two matches of the three-ODI series against Sri Lanka due to a lower back injury.
Rashid is set to miss the first two ODIs of the series, but is expected to return for the third and final match, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) confirmed.
🚨 BREAKING 🚨— Afghanistan Cricket Board (@ACBofficials) May 31, 2023
Low Back Injury rules Rashid Khan out of the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka.
Afghanistan’s Bowling Ace @rashidkhan_19 has sustained a low back injury which forces him out of the first two games against @OfficialSLC.
Get well soon Champ! 🤲 pic.twitter.com/2SrAR06Amt
The three-match series will commence on 2 June with all games set to be played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota.
The team physio's assessment stated that Rashid "will remain under full medical observation and is expected to return for the final ODI on June 7."
The 24-year-old recently featured in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Gujarat Titans where he played a crucial role in their journey to the finals, finishing the tournament with the joint second-highest wickets (27). The Hardik Pandya-led side fell short in the final hurdle against Chennai Super Kings.
Hashmatullah Shahidi is set to lead Afghanistan in the ODI series against Sri Lanka and will be banking on Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad and Mohammad Nabi to make up for Rashid's absence.
Afghanistan will travel to Bangladesh a week after the Sri Lanka series for an all-format tour, starting with a one-off Test in Chattogram on 14 June.
The ODI series will be a crucial for Sri Lanka as they prepare for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 Qualifiers in Zimbabwe.
Sri Lanka named a strong 15-member squad for the Afghanistan series with Dimuth Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera and Sadeera Samarawickrama all returning to the ODI setup after a long gap.
The former World Cup champions have been placed in Group B in the Qualifier alongside Ireland, Scotland, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, with their campaign kicking off on 19 June against UAE.