Melbourne Renegades have suffered a big blow ahead of their BBL semi-final against Sydney Sixers with Afghanistan calling Mohammad Nabi back for a training camp.
The Renegades had expected Nabi to be available for the finals if the club made it that far, but a camp ahead of the series against Ireland later this month will now take precedence.
It leaves them without a key allrounder with Nabi having played an important role in the middle order and with his offspin which has often been used in the Powerplay. He has taken eight wickets in the competition with an economy rate of 7.38 alongside being the team's third-highest run-scorer with 228 in 13 innings.
"We're disappointed to lose a player on the eve of the finals series but we understand the rules around international call ups and know there can be some unpredictability around when players are called into camp," head coach Andrew McDonald said.
"Nabi has been a valuable contributor throughout the season and his skills with bat and ball as well as leadership abilities will be missed. We are proud of the way we have been able to cover the absence of key players throughout the season and we're confident in the depth of our squad. There is now an exciting opportunity for someone to come into the team and play an important role for us."
One option the Renegades could use to replace Nabi's batting is to recall Cameron White who is expected to have recovered from a hamstring injury. However, White would not be able to cover Nabi's overs.
It has yet to be confirmed where the second semi-final will be hosted, but the likely scenario is that the Renegades will be away at the SCG unless there is a significant drop in the Sixers' net run-rate in their final match against Melbourne Stars.