Melbourne Stars captain Shane Warne will miss Thursday's finals-shaping match away to Adelaide after electing to return to England for Christmas.
The third-placed Stars have confirmed the leg-spinner is unavailable to face the second-placed Strikers at Adelaide Oval. The Strikers, like the Stars, have three wins from four matches in the Big Bash League but enjoy a hefty net-run-rate advantage thanks to their thrashing of Sydney Sixers on Sunday night.
Warne has played in all 12 of the Stars' BBL matches in the past season-and-a-half. In his absence the Stars will be captained by the man he replaced as captain this season, Cameron White.
The 43-year-old now spends much of his life in London, with English fiancee Elizabeth Hurley and her family.
The Stars said that while Warne will miss the match in Adelaide due to "pre-existing commitments in the United Kingdom" he will return for their following match, away to Brisbane on January 3.
The loss of Warne could make it easier for the Stars to include recent Test debutant John Hastings. The all-rounder narrowly failed a fitness test for last Friday's match against Sydney Sixers but is all but certain of being available to face Adelaide after a back injury. The Stars are also likely to consider the other spin bowler in their squad, left-arm finger-spinner Clive Rose, as Warne's replacement. Hastings and Rose are both yet to represent the Stars.
England international Luke Wright is assured of replacing Scott Henry at the top of the Stars' batting order, having missed the Sixers match due to international duty in India.