Johannesburg - West Indies star batsman Chris Gayle will not be joining the Dolphins for the start of their T20 Challenge campaign after he was ruled out through injury.
This is a massive blow for the Durban franchise, who were banking heavily on the experience and ability of one of the best players in the 20-over format of the game.
Gayle sustained a groin injury whilst playing for the Barisal Burners in the Bangladesh Premier League earlier on Thursday.
He will no longer travel to South Africa later on Friday and it is still uncertain whether he will play any part in the local T20 season.
"KZN Cricket (Pty) Ltd have received notification from Chris’s agents from Bangladesh of an injury to the Jamaican batsman," read a statement from the Dolphins on Thursday.
"Chris Gayle has damaged a groin muscle and will not be able to fly out tonight to Durban."
The 32-year-old had to retire hurt for his BPL outfit, who had paid a massive sum of money to capture his services in their Indian Premier League-style league.
With South Africa’s new structure allowing two foreign signings per franchise, Gayle was signed by the Dolphins along with Shaun Tait late last year.
However, the Australia paceman also withdrew through injury, meaning the Dolphins are without any big stars for their campaign that starts against the newly-formed Impi in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.
Gayle is widely seen as one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world game.
"He is going to be assessed by their medical team and they will advise us accordingly," said KZN Cricket chief executive Jesse Chellan.
"We will ensure to update our fans and the media as soon as we have further information."