London - Australia's Mitchell Marsh has been ruled out for the start of the English county cricket season due to ankle surgery, leaving Surrey scrambling to find a replacement.
The all-rounder was due to join up with the squad ahead of the start of the county championship, which begins later this month.
The 26-year-old could still feature for Surrey later in the season if he has fully recovered and providing he can prove his fitness.
"I'm extremely disappointed to be missing the start of the season," Marsh said in a statement on Surrey's website.
"I was looking forward to heading over and joining the Surrey family.
"I'll be doing everything I can to get myself fully fit and hopefully join the side later in the season."
Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart has begun the search for a replacement.
"This is a big blow for both Surrey and Mitch so close to the start of the English season but we wish Mitch all the best in his recovery," he said.
The injury looks set to rule Marsh out of the one-day series between England and Australia in June.