Essex have been struck by two major injury blows, with Graham Napier to miss the remainder of the 2010 domestic season after suffering a stress fracture to his back and Ryan ten Doeschate out for six to eight weeks after tearing a calf muscle during Essex's win over Somerset on June 16.
The injuries are likely to have a detrimental effect on Essex's Friends Provident t20 campaign, with the county currently third in the South Group points table. Napier is the highest English Twenty20 wicket-taker with 90 scalps in 67 matches, and in 2008 he hit an astonishing 152 against Sussex in the Twenty20 Cup which included a world record 16 sixes. He had taken part in just one game in this year's competition, making 12 and taking two wickets in the early loss to Kent.
"Having missed out on nearly the whole of the Friends Provident t20 campaign this comes as a real blow," Napier told essexcricket.org.uk. "It will have to be a long and patient recovery, I now need to allow the back to settle and heal over the next twelve weeks.
"If the healing process goes well I would look to be able to start playing cricket again in December, otherwise it will be at the beginning of the 2011 domestic season. All I can do now is support the team from the sidelines in our quest to become Twenty20 champions".
ten Doeschate, who turns 30 next week, had been in phenomenal form, averaging 73.75 with the bat, including a century, as well as picking up three wickets in this year's Friends Provident t20. He has had a good season across all formats, with good returns in the County Championship and CB40 League, and topped the MVP rankings.
"Both injuries are obviously a setback to our campaign," added Paul Grayson, the Essex first XI head coach. "Ryan was having the season of his life and was really enjoying his cricket. Graham never really got a consistent spell in the side this season after being hampered by injury. However, when fit, Napier is as good as anyone with bat and ball.
"Injuries are of course part of professional sport, and since these injuries the team have found that extra desire to win. These two injuries, whilst a blow to the side, give opportunities to other squad players to show their worth in front of huge crowds at Chelmsford.
"This is now the business end of the season, we now have to deal with the situation and we remain confident that we can continue to compete and entertain in all formats of the game for the remainder of the season".
Grayson also outlined the difficulties in bringing in additional overseas players: "Under the current circumstances with visa applications it is becoming increasingly more difficult to bring in overseas players. Myself and the Essex Cricket Committee are continuing to work hard in the search for viable alternatives. We will do all that we can to further strengthen the team in the coming weeks."