Sydney: West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard has been ruled out of the Big Bash League Twenty20 cricket tournament with a tear in his right hamstring.
It was a major blow for the much-hyped Twenty20 domestic tournament as it has lost a big draw card. Scans revealed that the Adelaide Strikers star import has a grade two tear. He suffered the injury while fielding in a warm-up game on Thursday, Australian media reported.
South African Alfonso Thomas will replace Pollard and join his compatriot Johan Botha in the Strikers' line-up.
"In a training mishap yesterday he strained his hamstring and unfortunately will be unavailable," Strikers coach Darren Berry told reporters on Friday.
Pollard, the world's highest-paid Twenty20 player, was to have been the marketing and on-field attraction for the Strikers. Berry would not hazard a guess on Pollard's lucrative contract of an undisclosed amount.
The Strikers have also asked Cricket Australia to release batsman Tom Cooper from his Chairman's XI duties against India so that he can play in Strikers' opening game on Sunday against Melbourne Renegades.
"We all know what an important player Kieron Pollard is to any Twenty20 side, so we can't hide from the fact that it is a blow," Berry said. "We do believe with Alfonso Thomas and Johan Botha, we have got two world-class internationals. And now it will fall back onto our middle-order players and we think we're covered there with our local talent and interstate recruits."
Pollard helped the South Australian Redbacks to win the T20 title last summer with brutal hitting in scoring 148 runs at a competition-high strike rate of over 187.
But Pollard did not feature in the Redbacks successful finals campaign due to international commitments.
"We won last year's T20 competition and have proven we can win without him," Berry said.