Cape Town Blitz fast bowler Anrich Nortje has been forced to withdraw from the inaugural Mzansi Super League due to an ankle injury.
Nortje will be replaced by Highveld Lions left-arm seamer Nandre Burger.
Nortje has been a revelation for the Cape Town-based outfit as he caught the eye of many with his ferocious brand of fast bowling, hitting the 150km/h mark.
He claimed eight wickets in three matches – which included the likes of Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma and Reeza Hendricks – at an average of 10.4.
"Unfortunately, I had to make a decision that I will no longer be taking part in the Mzansi Super League. I have had to leave the team after the abandoned match against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, and will be having surgery on Friday (November 30) to remove a small piece of bone that has broken off," Nortje said.
"I'm really sad to be leaving it, but hopefully I can be back next year and back in Cape Town. I'm really hoping that we can win the tournament this year because we are in a really good position, and if we keep on with the momentum we have, we can finish on top," he added.
Cape Town Blitz head coach Ashwell Prince picked Nortje in the fifth round of the draft and was disappointed by the news, but excited about what the future holds for the 25-year-old.
"It is really unfortunate that the injury has come at this particular time in his career. He is definitely one for the future for the Proteas, and South Africa has a lot to look forward to from this young man," Prince said.
"Everybody in Cape Town was really excited to see the sheer pace that Anrich could generate, which they saw in the first warm-up game against Paarl Rocks, where he got the ball through at 150 - maybe higher. I think all Capetonians were really excited about his potential in the tournament and in the brief time he played with us, he didn't disappoint.
An ankle injury forces Anrich Nortje to withdraw from the #MSLT20 .
"We would like to wish him all the best with his operation and recovery. We are just hoping that it is not a rushed process, and the young man will be granted the opportunity to fully recover before he starts cranking it up again.
"We are most certainly looking forward to having him back at the Cape Town Blitz next year," he added.
Cape Town Blitz physiotherapist Shane Jabaar explained the extent of Nortje's injury.
"Anrich has several small avulsed bone fragments from the inferior tip of the lateral aspect of the talus in his left ankle. He has associated bone oedema, and surgery will involve removing the fragments arthroscopically," Jabaar said.
Burger will be available for the Blitz’ match against the Tshwane Spartans on Saturday.