Somerset have announced that Matthew Wade will not be joining the club as planned this summer due to a knee injury, though his involvement in the county season was in jeopardy regardless due to the ongoing COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic which has cast a shadow of uncertainty over the English summer.
Wade, who played all three games of Australia's recent T20I series in South Africa and was an unused ODI squad member both on that tour and in their aborted series at home to New Zealand, had been due to play the first seven games of the County Championship season for Somerset.
"It's a big blow," Wade said. "I was looking forward to the challenge of playing county cricket in England this summer, but after discussions with the Cricket Australia medical team regrettably, it became clear that I wouldn't be in a position to join Somerset."
Wade will now have a prolonged period without cricket for the first time in almost a year, having gone straight from an Australia A tour in June 2019 into the Ashes series, and then into the Australian home summer a matter of weeks later.
In practice, he is unlikely to have been available even before that medical advice. The Championship season is scheduled to start on April 12, but there is a growing acceptance that the date will not be achievable, and given the UK's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said last week he expected the virus to peak in "10-14 weeks" - late May to June - meaning all of the games Wade was scheduled to play could well end up being postponed.
Somerset have signed Babar Azam for the T20 Blast and two Championship games and are hoping to find another overseas player for the second half of the Championship season as it is scheduled.