Danish Kaneria will miss the rest of Essex's season after fracturing a finger attempting to take a return catch against Worcestershire in the Championship at Castle Park on Thursday. Kaneria, their leading wicket-taker with 40 first-class victims this season, will need an operation which will force him to miss the end of the season.

"Danish saw a hand specialist on Friday morning at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford for a second opinion on the best management of the injury," an Essex spokesperson told Cricinfo. "It was decided he needs an operation and will miss the rest of the English county season."

The only area left for discussion is whether he will have the operation in England or back in Pakistan.

His loss will dent Essex's promotion hopes. They are currently fifth in the Championship table, 40 points adrift of leaders Worcestershire but with one game in hand on them. They also lead Division Two of the Pro40 competition, although they have played one match more than Kent in second, and Yorkshire in third.

Essex coach Paul Grayson said: "Danish's injury is a big blow to us because he's a world-class performer and has been a massive part of our success. But we have a good replacement in Tim Phillips, who has played a big part for us in one-day games in previous years, so this is a good opportunity for him to show what he can do."

Meanwhile, the club's physio Peter Gettings said Maurice Chambers will have an operation on his left ankle problem on September 1. "The surgery will be to remove a bony fragment from the back of the joint. This has been affecting his ability to bowl but he is still able to play until surgery and this will be decided on a game-by-game basis."