Wow. This was next level.
Australian Test opener Joe Burns has ended his spell with Lancashire and returned home for personal reasons.
The 29-year-old had agreed a deal to be the club’s overseas player for the majority of the County Championship season, building up to the Ashes series which starts on August 1.
Burns made his Lancashire debut against Northamptonshire at Old Trafford last week, making 10 in his only innings.
The Queenslander, who has made 16 Test appearances for Australia since his debut in 2014, scored 180 in his last Test against Sri Lanka in February.
But the returns of David Warner and Steve Smith had dealt a blow to Burns’ chances of making the Ashes squad, as evidenced by his failure to make the Australia A group which would play shadow matches during the upcoming Cricket World Cup.
However selectors had promises “that strong form with their county teams will be taken into account” for the players who missed out; another opportunity that now seems lost on Burns.
He was expected to be named in the Lancashire side for their upcoming fixture against Worcestershire. Instead, his club released a statement explaining that Burns would not be available for the rest of the 2019 season.
“Lancashire Cricket can confirm that overseas batsman Joe Burns has returned to Australia due to personal reasons, and will now not be available for the club’s 2019 campaign,” the statement read.
“Lancashire Cricket wishes Joe all the best, and it would be appreciated if his privacy is respected during this time.”
Jake Lehmann will replace his compatriot in the squad for this week’s match, with no indication over a long-term replacement.