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Rashid Khan out – Afghanistan name Noor Zia Ishaq for Sri Lanka Test

Rashid Khan wasn’t named as part of Afghanistan’s 16-man squad for their upcoming one-off Test against Sri Lanka starting February 2, as he continues to recover from the back surgery he had in November.
Rashid’s absence paved the way for legspinner Qais Ahmad, even as his only Test had come back in September 2019. Afghanistan also selected three uncapped players in batter Noor Ali Zadran, left-arm spinner Zia-ur-Rehman and wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Ishaq for the Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Noor, nephew of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, is the most experienced among the new entrants, with 51 ODIs and 23 T20Is under his belt since his debut in 2009. Zia, meanwhile, boasts an enviable first-class bowling record with 159 wickets in 28 games at an average of 19.1. He could also provide handy lower-order contributions, as his batting average of 16.58 in first-class matches testifies.

As for Qais, he had played the third T20I against India earlier this month in what was Afghanistan’s last assignment, although he hasn’t played a first-class match since his Test debut.

Rashid’s last professional appearance had come in the ODI World Cup in October-November, following which he underwent a lower-back surgery. He has since missed the BBL and Afghanistan’s tour to India, before also opting out of the PSL, which begins on February 17.

Afghanistan had last played a Test in June 2023, when they had lost to Bangladesh by a whopping 546 runs in Dhaka. From that tour, they have left out allrounders Karim Janat and Amir Hamza for the Test against Sri Lanka. However, their batting line-up retains itself; apart from captain Hashamtuallah Shahidi, it includes Ibrahim Zadran, Abdul Malik and Rahmat Shah.

Afghanistan have played only seven Tests since their first in 2018, and are yet to face Sri Lanka in the format. Apart from the solitary Test, their Sri Lanka tour also includes three ODIs and T20Is each.

Afghanistan squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Ibrahim Zadran, Abdul Malik, Noor Ali, Rahmat Shah, Bahir Shah, Nasir Jamal, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Mohammad Ishaq (wk), Qais Ahmad, Zia Akbar, Zahir Khan, Yamin Ahmadzai, Nijat Masood, Mohammad Saleem and Izharulhaq Naveed

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