Lahore -  English fast bowler Steven Finn has replaced the banned Andre Russell in Islamabad United's squad for the HBL Pakistan Super League 2017.

Andre Russell was found guilty of failing to file his whereabouts three times in the calendar year 2015. Under the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) code, three misses in one year amounts to a single failed dope test. Due to this, Russell has been banned from cricket for the period 31 January 2017 to 30 January 2018.

"We are devastated for Andre," said Sydney Thunder general manager Nick Cummins, in confirming the outcome. "We haven't seen the written judgement, but given the circumstances surrounding the filing failures we thought he had a good chance of being exonerated. We will monitor the appeals process and assess our options."

Sydney Thunder director of cricket Mike Hussey said he felt for Russell. "I feel for him. He's been going through a really tough time of late with all the 'whereabouts' saga going on and he's been waiting to hear the finding of that hearing," Hussey told the Cricket Australia website. "I want him to go away and get better physically but also mentally."

Islamabad United's Director Cricket, Wasim Akram, gave his thoughts on Russell's absence, saying: "I've known Andre for a while, from his Kolkata Knight Riders days to our work together here. I'm disappointed in the decision that means he will miss PSL 2."

Regarding the signing of Steven Finn, the left-arm legend went on to say, "Obviously there will be some who will question why we've replaced an all rounder with a genuine fast bowler, but having done the numbers, and having looked at the makeup of our squad he's a great alternative to have for Andre. His record in Asia, particularly, stood out to us, and if he replicates that form during the PSL I'm sure he'll play a major part in our successes this year. I look forward to working with him."

While there have been reports circulating in the media regarding possible replacements for Russell - including the likes of AB De Villiers, Ben Stokes and Mitchell Johnson - only those players, who were eligible in the final draft list of the HBL PSL were available for selection.

Finn joins Ben Duckett, Zohaib Khan, Shadab Khan and Syed Muzammil Shah as new signings for the franchise, further strengthening a squad that won the inaugural HBL Pakistan Super League.