The Brisbane Heat have lost star spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman a game earlier than expected in a blow to their chances of beating the Melbourne Renegades in Canberra on Thursday night.
The Heat were banking on having the in-form Mujeeb for one more match before he left for international duties with Afghanistan, who play a limited-over series against Ireland in the UAE later this month.
But Mujeeb received updated travel arrangements from Afghanistan team management after playing in the Heat’s weekend loss to the Sydney Sixers, and will take no further part in this season’s BBL.
“Unfortunately, he had to leave a little sooner than we had both anticipated and we will miss him,” Heat coach Darren Lehmann said.
Mujeeb took 14 wickets at an average of 6.25 in eight BBL matches this season.
“I said the other day that he has taken his game to new heights with us this season and that was shown clearly in what turned out to be his last game for us when he took 2-16 against the Sixers,’’ Lehmann said.
“He has been excellent, and we wish him all the best with representing his country and for his cricket this year.”
FIXTURE CHANGE | Seven matches, starting with Thursday's clash between the @HeatBBL & @RenegadesBBL, have been relocated due to the impact of COVID-19 on state border restrictions #BBL10 pic.twitter.com/MvXRaq54ui
In better selection news for the Heat, English batsman Joe Denly has been cleared of a fracture after he dislocated his finger while fielding against the Sixers.
Provided Denly trains well between now and Thursday, he’s expected to play against the Renegades.
The Heat also to call on Morne Morkel for the first time this season, having applied to the BBL technical committee to bring the former South African fast bowler Morne Morkel back into the squad after the completion of latest quarantine period.
Lehmann had no concerns with the venue for Thursday’s match being changed from Marvel Stadium to Manuka Oval due to COVID-19-enforced border closures.
“We gained a lot from the two games we played at the start of the season at Manuka so even though there have been a few changes to our planning, we are right to go,” he said.
In other changes, the Heat’s January 21 clash against the Adelaide Strikers will now take place at the Adelaide Oval rather than the MCG, while their January 26 match with the Perth Scorchers that was to be played at the SCG will now be held at a yet-to-be confirmed venue,
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