Afghanistan suffered a blow ahead of their 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign Monday when captain Asghar Stanikzai was ruled out of the start of the tournament after undergoing surgery to have his appendix removed, the International Cricket Council announced.
The 30-year-old middle order batsman will miss the warm-up games this week as well as the tournament opener against Scotland on March 4 although officials expect him to be fit to face hosts Zimbabwe two days later.
Stanikzai has played 83 one-day internationals and made 1,565 runs.
Afghanistan are in Group B of the qualifying tournament which is being staged in Zimbabwe and will face the home country, Nepal, Hong Kong and Scotland in the first round.
The top three teams from the two groups will qualify for the second stage with the best two countries at the end of the event booking their places at the 2019 World Cup being held in England and Wales.