On the eve of the first T20I between India and Afghanistan, the visiting captain Ibrahim Zadran has confirmed that star spinner Rashid Khan will not take part in any of the three matches in the series.
The series will begin with the first match in Mohali on January 11, which is the first-ever bilateral series between India and Afghanistan. Notably, Afghanistan had played their first-ever Test against India in 2018 in Bengaluru.
Rashid Khan has been named in the Afghanistan squad for the three T20Is, but he is coming off a lower-back surgery that happened a couple of months ago. He is still rehabbing from the procedure. He was seen rolling his arm in nets over the last couple of days but is not ready to return to the field.
Afghanistan captain Ibrahim Zadran confirmed that the star spinner is recovering and will take a bit of time before he is available for selection.
“He is not totally fit, but is traveling with the team. We hope that he gets fit as soon as we expect him to. He’s doing his rehab with the doctor, and we will miss him in the series,” Zadran was quoted as saying by Sportstar.
“Without Rashid, there are a few players that we have trust in. I can say, they will play good cricket. Others have also played a lot of cricket and I am sure they will perform well. Without Rashid, we will struggle because his experience is crucial to all of us, but this is cricket and you need to be ready for any kind of situation,” he added.
The spin department will be headed by Noor Ahmad and Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, while the ‘most experienced’ Mohammed Nabi will also be available for selection.
“Nabi is the most senior guy in our team and he should play. He has lots of experience,” Zadran said.
Zadran said that the Afghanistan players are excited about playing against a strong Indian team, featuring Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. The last time these two teams had met in a T20I was in the Asia Cup 2022, where Virat Kohli had made his maiden century in the format. After this match, their Asian Games gold medal match was rained out in China.
“Playing against India on their home soil is a difficult task, but we came here to play well against them and show our skills. We have lots of good T20 players, all our boys are playing good cricket, so I am sure they will play well. We will have a good series against India,” Zadran said.
Zadran also said that despite the cold weather in Mohali, the dew shouldn’t play a part in the game.
“It’s cold and we have been training for the last two days and there was no due…” he said.