Ravi Bopara: Essex and England all-rounder out for six weeks
Ravi Bopara's faint hopes of an Ashes call-up have been ended by a side strain picked up in Essex's FLt20 win over Kent on Monday night.
The Essex and England all-rounder has been ruled out for six to eight weeks.
"Ravi is in such a good place mentally at the moment and is playing the best cricket I have seen from him in a long time, so it's a huge blow," head coach Paul Grayson told BBC Essex.
"It will be like replacing two players as he's batting and bowling so well."
Their T20 campaign has been dealt a second blow as opening batsmen Mark Pettini has torn a quadricep muscle, meaning he will be out of action for up to a month.
Including Bopara, Pettini is Essex's third frontline batsman in the the treatment room after Tom Westley broke his finger in the recent Ashes warm-up match against England.
"Mark has forged such a great partnership with Hamish Rutherford at the top of the order so it's very frustrating to disrupt that," Grayson added.
"It is all hands to the pump now, but we know we have a strong squad and i think we can deal with the losses.
"James Foster and Ryan ten Doeschate will probably move up the order because in most teams they would be batting much higher."