In a strategic move aimed at prioritizing his recovery, cricket sensation Rashid Khan has officially withdrawn from the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2024. The decision is part of a careful rehabilitation process following the back surgery that the Afghan star underwent in November.
Lahore Qalandars’ Perspective and Replacement Plans
Having played a pivotal role for Lahore Qalandars in the past three PSL seasons, including championship victories in 2022 and 2023, Rashid Khan was retained by the franchise for the ‘silver’ salary bracket in December’s draft. However, it was understood that he might not be available for the 2024 edition. The Qalandars will now look to secure a suitable replacement for Rashid in the upcoming supplementary and replacement draft, scheduled to be held virtually on Monday.
Despite travelling with the Afghanistan team to India for a T20I series earlier this month, Rashid Khan was deemed unfit to play. The decision aligns with a cautious approach to ensure his back fully heals post-surgery. The Afghan spinner had earlier withdrawn from both the Big Bash League and the SA20, emphasizing the need for careful management of his recovery.
Jonathan Trott, head coach of Lahore Qalandars, shed light on the situation, stating, “It is a case of us making sure that we are really careful with his back. He is such an influential player: we have to make sure he is 100% ready and not rush him back from that type of surgery… when he is ready, he will be the first one to get on the field. He has got a few more appointments and check-ups to make sure everything is OK, so there is no real time frame. I hope it is sooner rather than later, but there is no pressure and no rush.”
Future Commitments and Expected Return
While Rashid Khan focuses on his recovery, he remains on track to fulfil his Indian Premier League (IPL) commitments with Gujarat Titans. There’s a possibility of seeing him in action for Afghanistan, perhaps during Ireland’s multi-format tour to the UAE, scheduled from February 28 to March 18.
Several other PSL teams are also grappling with player changes. Lahore Qalandars will additionally sign a partial replacement for Dan Lawrence, while Peshawar Zalmi’s Noor Ahmad has withdrawn due to international commitments. Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators are set to secure partial replacements for various players, including Kieron Pollard, Tim Seifert, and Wanindu Hasaranga.
Tom Curran, initially drafted by Islamabad United, has withdrawn from the full PSL season due to a recent knee injury sustained during the Big Bash League.
The PSL landscape is witnessing strategic shifts as teams adapt to the evolving player scenarios, setting the stage for an intriguing and competitive tournament.