Melbourne Stars have been dealt a massive blow ahead of the upcoming Big Bash League with key import Jonny Bairstow set to be recalled by England for their Test tour of Sri Lanka.
Bairstow - one of the biggest international signings for the 10th edition of the BBL tournament - has not played a Test match in almost 12 months.
But England wicketkeeper Ollie Pope's ongoing recovery from shoulder surgery has opened the door for Bairstow to return for the two-match series in January.
He has been replaced in the Stars squad by West Indian Andre Fletcher.
Bairstow's BBL withdrawal is not only a blow to the Stars' hopes of breaking their title duck, but also to a competition that has come under fire from Channel Seven amid a bitter spat between Cricket Australia and its free-to-air broadcaster.
"We're naturally disappointed Jonny won't be able to link up with us this season but we wish him well on his recall," Stars coach David Hussey said.
West Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Fletcher is expected to be available in late January for the Stars.
"He'll bring plenty of power and entertainment at the top of the batting order," Hussey said.
"Andre is a former T20 World Cup winner with the West Indies so he knows what it takes to succeed in major tournaments."
Meanwhile, Pakistan all-rounder Imad Wasim has signed with the Melbourne Renegades.
The left arm orthodox spinner bolsters the Renegades' strong spin-bowling options alongside fellow international recruits Imran Tahir, Noor Ahmad and returning star Mohammad Nabi.
Last season's leading wicket taker Cameron Boyce and former Test spinner Jon Holland are also on the Renegades' books.
"Imad is one of the best T20 players in the world with his ability to impact games with the ball and to finish the innings with the bat," Renegades Coach Michael Klinger said.
"He's an experienced player with recent title success, he's capable of bowling in the powerplay and he'll strengthen our middle order batting."
Imad will be available from December 26 as the Renegades rotate their international contingent.
Former South Africa batsman Rilee Rossouw is the only import who will be with the Renegades for the entire tournament, which begins on December 10.
Australian Associated Press