The Big Bash League has suffered a serious blow with Adelaide Strikers marquee man Rashid Khan ruled out of the tournament with a back injury.
The Strikers confirmed on Wednesday the Afghanistan star would miss the entire tournament, requiring minor surgery on his back after the World Cup.
The world’s top-ranked T20 bowler, Rashid is close to the Big Bash’s biggest name and has genuine pulling power as a crowd favourite all over the country.
Rashid had threatened to boycott the BBL at the end of last summer over Australia’s decision to withdraw from a series against Afghanistan on human rights grounds.
However he ultimately retracted that threat when he nominated for the BBL overseas player draft in August and was retained by the Strikers.
“Rashid is a beloved member of the Strikers and a fan favourite who has been with us for seven years, so he will be extremely missed this summer,” Strikers GM Tim Nielsen said.
“Rashid loves Adelaide and the Strikers, and we know how much he loves playing in the BBL, and we support him as he has treatment for this injury to ensure his long-term involvement in the game.
“Our list management and coaching staff will now look at our options for replacing Rashid for the upcoming season and a replacement player will be announced in due course.”
Rashid will be eligible to be retained by the Strikers in next year’s players draft.
One of the world’s craftiest legspinners, Rashid first made a name for himself in Australia as a teenager when he was the leading wicket-taker with 18 in 2017-18.
That helped the Strikers to their first and only title, with his 98 wickets still the most of any overseas player in the BBL.
Rashid’s withdrawal leaves the Renegades’ Mujeeb Ur Rahman as the sole Afghan player remaining in this year’s tournament.
The No.1 selection in the draft and kept by Adelaide via a retention pick, Rashid’s withdrawal comes after No.2 pick Harry Brook also pulled out of the tournament.
Brook had been due to play for the Melbourne Stars but withdrew from his deal last week due to workload concerns.