Sri Lankan seam bowler Lasith Malinga has been pulled out of the Highveld Lions squad due to "injury and conditioning concerns".
The domestic Twenty20 season is due to commence next week in South Africa, but the Sri Lankan cricket board have had to withdraw the 26-year-old.
Galle-born Malinga has been producing a host of fantastic performances in the shortened form of the game - with the Sri Lankan earning a good Twenty20 record, taking 24 wickets in 20 matches.
Signed as an overseas player for the Standard Bank Pro20 competition in Ocotber last year, Lions coach Dave Nosworthy has admitted that the news has come as a blow - losing a great player in Malinga.
He added: "This is a disappointing situation, as Malinga would have been a great asset in the team and we would have had a "death bowling" specialist to be feared.
"At this stage we also sit with three of our front line bowlers on the injury list in Andre Nel, Craig Alexander and Friedel de Wet - which makes things even tougher.
"However, all these things mean is that someone else gets the opportunity to step up to the plate which excites me."