Thorpe and Butcher will miss final Test
England were dealt a double injury blow today with the news that Graham Thorpe will miss the final Test after breaking a finger at Old Trafford, while Mark Butcher has collected yet another muscle injury and will miss the game too.
Thorpe broke the little finger on his right hand when he was hit by a screamer from Fidel Edwards while making his way to his 15th Test century. He will bat if needed in the second innings at Old Trafford, but will sit out the fourth and final Test, which starts at The Oval on Thursday (August 19).
Meanwhile Butcher's catalogue of woe, which started when he received whiplash in a car accident in London while on the way to see his physiotherapist, has continued. He has just recovered from a thigh-muscle pull, but strained his calf while jogging on Friday, and this latest injury will also keep him out of the fourth Test. It means that after playing 42 successive Tests up to the third one against New Zealand this summer, Butcher will have missed all four matches of the West Indies series with various niggles.
All this means that there will be no Surrey player in the team at The Oval - unless the selectors decide to go for experience and call up the in-form Mark Ramprakash as a replacement. Ramprakash is 35 on September 5, and played the last of his 52 Tests in New Zealand in 2001-02, but he has scored five centuries in his last seven innings in the County Championship.
A more likely replacement is Ian Bell, the uncapped 22-year-old Warwickshire batsman, who was averaging 80.83 this season before the latest round of matches.