Melbourne Renegades have made a left-field move on the eve of the Big Bash League season signing Lancashire quick Richard Gleeson to replace Usman Shinwari who was withdrawn due to international duty.
Shinwari was called up for his Test debut against Sri Lanka and is now unavailable for the BBL while fellow Pakistan allrounder Faheem Ashraf has also been withdrawn from the tournament to remain in Pakistan.
Gleeson, 32, has impressed over the last four seasons of the T20 Blast in England. He started his career with Northamptonshire before moving to Lancashire. He has experience overseas having played in the Bangladesh Premier League for the Rangpur Riders in 2016. He also toured West Indies with the England Lions in 2018.
Gleeson will now play the first eight games of the BBL as one of the Renegades overseas players before Mohammad Nabi arrives for the second half of the tournament.
"Richard bowls with genuine pace and is capable of hitting the areas that make it difficult for batsmen to score on a regular basis. His skills in the power play and at the death have resulted in him being one of the best T20 bowlers in the UK T20 Blast in recent years," Renegades Head coach Michael Klinger said.
"It's obviously unfortunate to lose Shinwari and Ashraf on the eve of the season but sometimes that's the nature of T20 cricket in a busy international schedule. We know things can change quickly with international players and we need to be ready to respond.
Harry Gurney, who was a key part of the Renegades title last season, is now available for the entire season which means the Renegades do not need a fourth overseas player.
"We're delighted to have Harry Gurney for the whole tournament given his performances in the Big Bash last season and Nabi will also be a welcome addition when he arrives in January," Klinger said.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne