Afghanistan sweats over Rashid Khan’s fitness ahead of Bangladesh T20 final

The Afghanistan captain is nursing a hamstring injury and is unsure of his participation in the tri-nation series final.

Rashid Khan... “I had some work on my hamstring yesterday and today. We will decide tomorrow.”   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan is unsure of his participation in the tri-nation Twenty20 International final against Bangladesh on Tuesday as he is nursing a hamstring injury.

Rashid left the field injured against the same opponent in the last match of the league phase in Chittagong on Saturday, before returning to bowl two overs and picking 2 for 27 in its four-wicket loss. “I can’t say anything right now,” Rashid said on Monday about his chances of playing in the final. “I had some work on my hamstring yesterday and today. We will decide tomorrow.”

Rashid said he would rather not have bowled in the previous game, but the team needed his services. “The main reason to come back to bowl was that I wanted to know the severity of the injury,” he said. “The physio and coaches didn’t want me to bowl. I was OK with the first two overs, but after going for a run it got worse. I think I shouldn’t have bowled, but when the team needs you, you have to be there. We give our all for the country.”

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Rashid said that if he even had a “10 percent chance” to take to the field, he would give it a shot. “I saw how Asghar [Afghan] came to play four days after his appendicitis operation in Zimbabwe... I love my country, and I want the country to win, rather than myself.”

He said the team had other good bowlers to call on — such as Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammad Nabi and Sharafuddin Ashraf — if he was ruled out of the match.

‘Confident’

Rashid also said he was confident Afghanistan would beat host Bangladesh in the final after winning four of the last five Twenty20 Internationals it has played. “I think the cricket we are playing, especially in T20s, we are confident of winning against any side if we are playing at our best,” he added. “We have the talent and skills. We need to be more calm and cool, relax and enjoy the game.”

Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo said the team was still looking to hit its best form despite winning three of its four matches in the tournament. “We haven’t played the perfect game of cricket yet. We have been good in certain areas and average in certain areas. We are still trying to find the perfect game,” he said.