Rashid Khan will not play in the PSL 2022 final

The cricketer represents Lahore Qalandars in the league

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Claim: Afghan cricketer Rashid Khan will be available to play for the Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final scheduled for 27 February 2022.

Fact: The star spinner has said he will not be available to play at the PSL final due to commitments with the Afghanistan cricket team. 

Fact or Fiction?

On 26 February 2022, Geo Super claimed in a Facebook post that Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who plays for the Lahore Qalandars’ in the PSL, will return to Pakistan to play the final on 27 February 2022.

The headline of the Geo Super article reads, “Rashid Khan to be available for Lahore Qalandars in PSL final, sources.”

The story was picked up by various digital media outlets, pages, and profiles, and began to proliferate across social media. Posts with the claim can be found here, here, here, here, here and here.

In fact, Rashid Khan played his last game for the Lahore Qalandars on 20 February 2022, before leaving to play with the Afghanistan cricket team as it tours Bangladesh for a three-match ODI tournament and a two-match T20I series. 

In response to the speculation surrounding his appearance in the PSL final, Khan tweeted on Saturday afternoon, “It would’ve been great to be part of @lahoreqalandars and play alongside lads in @thePSLt20 final. I won’t be able to make it for the finals due to National Duty which is always a first priority. I wish my captain @iShaheenAfridi  @sameenrana and team GOOD LUCK  INSHALLAH.”

The Lahore Qalandars secured a place in the final of the PSL 2022 after defeating Islamabad United in a game on 25 February 2022. 

Virality

According to a CrowdTangle analysis conducted by Soch Fact Check, the search term “Rashid Khan Lahore Qalandars final” turned up 238 posts on Facebook which received 39,998 interactions over the three days leading up to 26 February 2022.

The results show that CricWick’s post has gained significant traction with 1,500 likes and 13 shares. It is also performing 29 times better than other similar posts on Facebook. Meanwhile, Geo Super’s post received 1,200 likes and 24 shares. 

Geo News English also carried the story with the headline, “Major boost for Lahore Qalandars as Rashid Khan likely to play in PSL final.”

The caption of Geo News English’s Facebook post, which received 294 likes and 9 shares, reads, “In a major development, Lahore Qalandars’ star player Rashid Khan would be available for his team in the final of the Pakistan Super League, sources told Geo News.”

On the same date, TV channel Geo News Urdu carried the same claim. The video posted by their sister channel Geo Super on YouTube, titled “Major boost for Lahore Qalandars as Rashid Khan likely to play in PSL”, was viewed by more than 59,000 people.

Although many of the pages on Facebook have quoted Geo News in their posts, Soch Fact Check also found the misleading news being shared by Twitter user Rashid Khan (@Rashidullah198) who, in a tweet apparently impersonating the cricketer, wrote, “On the way to join @lahoreqalandars. Remember me in your prayers.” The tweet, which has since been deleted,  received 172 retweets, 97 quote tweets and 2,162 likes within an hour. 

Soch Fact Check found that the account (@Rashidullah198) was created in April 2018 and has 4,004 followers whereas Khan’s real Twitter account (@rashidkhan_19) is verified and was created in May 2016. Khan’s Twitter account  has 1.2 million followers. 

This may explain why the false claim went viral on social media, particularly Twitter, where it was also shared by verified accounts. 

On 26 February 2022 date, Geo Super posted a new story on their website with the headline, “PSL 7: I won’t be able to make it to PSL final, says Rashid Khan,” but the story claiming Khan will be available for the final has not been retracted or corrected and can still be found on the outlet’s website.

Conclusion: Rashid Khan will not be returning to Pakistan to play for the Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League final due to commitments with the Afghanistan national cricket team.

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