Sussex batsman Laurie Evans will play for Surrey in the T20 Blast after making a loan move on the eve of the tournament.
Evans, 32, has already been playing for Surrey in the Bob Willis Trophy and is due to complete a permanent move to the county at the end of the season.
Despite that, he was still due to feature for parent club Sussex in the Vitality T20 Blast. He caught the eye in this competition in 2018 and went on to earn contracts in the PSL, CPL, BPL, Afghan Premier League and Abu Dhabi T10.
However, a loan agreement has now been made after Evans was keen to begin his stint with Surrey early.
Sussex Sharks actually start this season’s T20 Blast campaign against Surrey on Friday, 28 August. They are among the favourites for the title this time around and have been tipped to enjoy a succesful 2020 season.
“From a club point of view, we're obviously disappointed,” said Sussex head coach Jason Gillespie.
“Laurie made it clear he was keen to start his time at Surrey. It, therefore, made sense for all parties to allow him to play for them now.
“With Laurie preferring not to play for our team, it allows another player the opportunity to represent Sussex in the Vitality Blast. Laurie has performed well for us in one-day and T20 cricket in the past, and we wish him well for the future.”
Blow for Sussex is Bonus for Surrey
The move means that the Sharks will have to tinker with their batting line-up ahead of the season opener.
New arrival Ravi Bopara or Delray Rawlins could move up the order. Other options for Gillespie include Harry Finch, George Garton or Tom Clark.
For Surrey, the loan deal hands them a timely boost after being hit by a host of other absences. Evans is ineligible to feature in both fixtures against Sussex but is a much-needed option for his new team.
England prospect Ollie Pope injured his shoulder in the last Test against Pakistan and captain Jade Dernbach is also sidelined.
Other injury issues come from Morne Morkel, Liam Plunkett and Jordan Clark. Tom Curran is absent due to his England commitments.
Surrey's director of cricket, Alec Stewart, welcomed the early arrival of Evans. He said: “With the number of players we already provide to the England set-up – and potentially more to come in the near future – it was important to bring an experienced batsman into our squad.
“The next month is an important time for this squad, and all of us have a responsibility to turn things around after four very bad results in the Bob Willis Trophy.
“What we have produced so far is nowhere near the levels of performance we expect to see from ourselves, and the more senior players in particular must now step up – regardless of their age – and perform.”