The Melbourne Renegades have suffered another blow with their premier legspinner Imran Tahir withdrawing from the tournament for personal reasons.
Tahir had been in doubt to play in the BBL after his arrival was delayed in December with the Australian government requiring overseas players to do a 14-day quarantine in a hotel room prior to being available to play.
The Renegades coach Michael Klinger said that while it was disappointing to lose Tahir, it would give an opportunity to Noor Ahmad. "Unfortunately, Imran is not coming for personal reasons," Klinger said. "He's a great player so it is a loss. But at the same time we've seen Noor Ahmad a couple of games ago, a bowler who people haven't seen that much, it might actually work in our favour.
"He'll now be able to play a fair chunk of that back end of the season, with Imad Wasim. Nabi has to go home for international duty. It is a loss but at the same time what a huge opportunity for young Noor to come in and have a huge impact on the BBL."
Ahmad, 15, made his BBL debut against the Hobart Hurricanes and took 1 for 27 from four overs and was unfortunate not to claim a second wicket with a very close lbw shout against Colin Ingram turned down.
He was left out of the Renegades last match against the Sydney Thunder, where they were beaten by 129 runs to suffer the second-largest defeat in BBL history, just two weeks after suffering the worst one against the Sydney Sixers.
Klinger said the mood in the group was still upbeat despite the heavy defeats. "The mood is still pretty good because we know what we're capable of doing," he said. "We saw in game one how well we played. We know we've got the ability in the group to really come out and perform well."
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne