Corey Webster and Tom Abercrombie are the highest profile absentees from the Tall Blacks squad for next month's basketball World Cup qualifying window.

Webster has been allowed to skip the games against Syria in Beirut and Lebanon in Rotorua as he settles back into the country from China for a stint with the Breakers.

Abercrombie has been ruled out after suffering a hamstring injury in Breakers' training this week.

His absence means Dion Prewster retains his spot in the squad of 12, while Ethan Rusbatch earns a call-up to the guard stocks with Webster's absence.


German-based Isaac Fotu and Galatasaray guard Tai Webster are the two overseas players.

The team will be led by Brisbane Bullets forward Mika Vukona.

Coach Paul Henare said his side face a tall order in the latest phase of games.

"This next round will be the biggest challenge we have faced so far, both in terms of the opposition, but also the travel. Getting in and out of the Middle East in the short time we have between games is something new, but in typical Tall Blacks fashion, we are looking forward to taking that on and putting in some strong performances," he said.

"The first and only focus for the team is Syria in Beirut, but the support staff have come up with a plan to have us back and ready to go again Rotorua on the 17th against Lebanon. The reality is we must view the window in totality and do all we can to get the best out of the players across both games.

"If we are to qualify for China and do so with a high seeding, we must at the very least win our home games in front of our home fans. Rotorua proved a big hit with the team in the last window, we look forward to another big crowd and great support on the 17th, but first we have a job to do against Syria."