Harry Brook bombshell leaves Melbourne Stars scrambling ahead of BBL season

The Englishman has withdrawn from his deal with the Stars and won't play this summer.

Harry Brook alongside Melbourne Stars players.
Harry Brook has pulled out of his deal with the Melbourne Stars. Image: Getty

For the second-straight year the BBL has lost a marquee signing at the last minute, with Harry Brook withdrawing from his deal with the Melbourne Stars just three weeks out from the competition start. The Englishman, who was the second overall pick in the draft, was set to join the Stars for seven games this summer after England's tour of the West Indies in December.

But Brook and the Stars announced on Thursday that he was withdrawing from his BBL commitments due to workload issues. The Stars said they have already signed an unnamed international player to replace Brook.

BIG CALL: Marcus Stoinis hint could be bad news for Marnus Labuschagne

'WHAT A JOKE': Aussies caught up in 'outrageous' World Cup furore

"Currently the coaching staff and list management team are discussing options for the remainder of the tournament and we look forward to announcing those signings once they have been finalised," said Stars general manager Blair Crouch. "Naturally we're disappointed that Harry has withdrawn from the BBL but we understand his decision with his increased workload.

"We obviously rate Harry extremely highly and we would have loved to have seen him at the MCG alongside Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis this summer. We wish him all the best with his upcoming international commitments."

Harry Brook, pictured here in action for England at the Cricket World Cup.
Harry Brook in action for England at the Cricket World Cup. (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Brook played in England's drawn Ashes series against Australia earlier this year, as well as the Poms' miserable World Cup campaign in India. The 24-year-old is already slated to miss the first three games of their tour of the Windies.

Brook's withdrawal comes just three weeks before the start of the BBL and follows Liam Livingstone's decision to do the same last season. Livingstone withdrew from his deal with the Melbourne Renegades when he was a surprise selection in the England squad. David Willey also pulled out of his commitment with the Sydney Thunder for undisclosed reasons.

Nathan Lyon to play for Melbourne Renegades in BBL

The Stars will also be without the services of Adam Zampa after he defected to cross-town rivals the Renegades. The Aussie spinner will link up with Test star Nathan Lyon, who has made the switch from the Sydney Sixers.

Lyon spent 10 seasons with the Sixers, helping them win the 2019-20 title. But after limited opportunities in Sydney over the past few seasons, he has joined the Renegades on a three-year deal.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to be part of the Melbourne Renegades," Lyon said in a statement earlier this year. "(Marvel Stadium's) a place where I enjoy bowling, it tends to spin a little bit. I'm looking forward to hopefully joining up with 'Zamps' in a really good partnership and putting a show on for the Renegades fans.

"I've got some really good friends who are part of the Melbourne Renegades, and that's one of the reasons I wanted to come down. There's a good group of senior players there who I've played a lot of cricket with internationally and also domestically, then you look at the younger guys throughout the roster – it's a pretty powerful squad in my eyes."

Renegades general manager James Rosengarten said: "Over the last couple of years, we've had a clear plan around transforming our playing list to give our club the best opportunity to contend for another BBL championship. Being able to add two world-class spinners in Nathan and Adam to our squad for the next couple of years is a significant step in that process, one which we're confident will help to set us up for success over the coming seasons."

Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.