Afghanistan cricket team faces a severe blow as the all-rounder Rashid Khan has been ruled out of the T20I series against India. The 3-match T20I series commences on 11th January 2024 (Thursday) at PCA Stadium, Mohali.
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma, who was away from the T20 game format for 14 months, is expected to carry with his aggressive approach as a captain and opening batsman, in a similar manner he showed in the ODI World Cup 2023.
Especially, the last T20I assignment for Team India before the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 gives clarity on their players’ performance.
In a pre-match press conference, Afghanistan skipper Ibrahim Zadran recently voiced his disappointment about Rashid Khan’s absence. He shares the facts that Rashid had traveled along with the entire team to Chandigarh. But, he wouldn’t be able to participate in the forthcoming series.
Despite Rashid Khan’s absence, the team strives to deliver a promising performance by having an alternative backup for spin bowling namely:
- Mujeeb Zadran
- Naveen-Ul Haq
- Fazalhaq Farooqi
Moreover, the Afghanistan cricket team’s performance in the ODI World Cup in India was exceptional. Rashid Khan was the trump card for his team. Interestingly, for the first time in the history of the World Cup, Afghanistan had a closer chance to qualify for the knockouts.
Earlier, ACG (Afghanistan Cricket Board) included his name in the T20 squad. Not only Rashid Khan has been ruled out of the T20 series, but also he is being replaced by Kieron Pollard as the MI Cape Town skipper for SA 20 2024.
Reasons Why Rashid Khan has been ruled out of the T20I series against India?
Rashid Khan recently underwent back surgery after the ICC World Cup 2023. As a result, the 25-year-old Afghan cricketer didn’t take part in the 3-match T20I series against the UAE. Also, he wasn’t able to participate in the Big Bash League 2023-24.
Currently, Rashid is undergoing his rehabilitation. The average time to recover from lower back injury is between 3 to 6 weeks.
To recover completely from the back injury and deliver his complete performance for the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, Rashid Khan has been ruled out of the T20I series against India.
Afghanistan skipper’s opinion after Rashid Khan has been ruled out of the T20I series 2024:
Ibrahim Zadran explains how his team will manage after Rashid Khan has been ruled out of the T20I series against the men-in-blue in 2024:
“At present, he isn’t completely fit. But he is traveling with our team. He hasn’t fully recovered yet. We will miss him in the upcoming T20I series. He is undergoing his rehab. We wish him a speedy recovery
There are few promising players whom we can trust in Rashid Khan’s absence.
Our squad consists of many core players like Mujeeb Zadran who has considerable experience playing a lot of cricket matches.
Certainly, we would stumble without Rashid’s presence. At the same time, we are ready to face any kind of situation.”
Furthermore, the 22-year-old Afghanistan skipper shared his bowling options :
“Although we have the best pacers and one of the top spinners in the world, the main goal is to improve our batting skills.”
Despite the cold weather conditions at Mohali, the Afghanistan captain is confident of delivering a controlled performance:
Also, we have been experiencing rigorous training sessions in Mohali. As far as we have observed, there hasn’t been any dew at this venue for the past two to three days.”
Additionally, he admitted the challenge of playing against India on their home ground:
“Accepting the fact, it is extremely difficult to play against the men-in-blue on their home ground. But, our important goal in Mohali is to achieve triumph. It is only possible when we exhibit our complete abilities.
We are strong in this format. I’m confident that we’ll perform well with the majority of T20 talented players included in our squad.”
Ibrahim Zadran from his above statement conveys his confidence of winning the series in Rashid’s absence.
Ibrahim Zadran aims for the T20 World Cup 2024
The Afghan Skipper aims for the T20 World Cup 2024 by revealing his plan to improve his strike rate in the shorter formats:
“ I anchor my team’s innings during the ODIs (One Day Internationals). Whereas in T20 internationals (T20Is), I have a main goal of improving my strike rate. But, it relies on circumstances.
You should be able to play spectacular shots, especially when the team needs you.
Particularly, I am working on it. We are getting closer to entering the T20 World Cup tournament. The entire team will benefit if I can increase my strike rate”.
Ibrahim Zadran expressed his serious thoughts about the Twenty20 World Cup in a pre-match press conference, specifically after Rashid Khan has been ruled out of the T20I series.
Rashid Khan’s participation in T20 World Cup 2024: Conclusive Facts
Every cricket fan would wait to observe if Rashid can ensure his participation in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024.
Especially, Rashid Khan needs to pass the physical test ahead of the IPL 2024 to ensure his participation in the forthcoming World Cup.
Unfortunately, his absence could hurt the Afghanistan team who could make a handy contribution with the bat and ball.
The selectors appointed Najibullah Zadran to contribute as a finisher along with Azmatullah Omarzai and Mohammad Nabi.
At the same time, the T20I series against India will be a real test for Afghanistan to perform well in Rashid’s absence.