Warwickshire have suffered a major blow on the eve of their pre-season tour to Barbados with the news that seamer Neil Carter will be out of action for up to nine weeks.
Carter, last season’s Professional Cricketers’ Association Player of the Year and Most Valued Player, broke down in the Edgbaston nets last week and has now been diagnosed with a stress reaction in his pelvis.
Had the injury not been detected at an early stage Carter, who spends his winters mountain biking in his native Cape Town, would have almost certainly been ruled out for the entire season.
But the 36-year-old has been ruled out of the pre-season tour and Warwickshire do not expect Carter to be fit to feature in first team action until the start of the Friends Provident t20 in June.
Last summer Carter enjoyed his most productive season with Warwickshire since he arrived at Edgbaston ten years ago as he took 51 wickets and scored 617 vital lower order runs in the County Championship.
He signed a new two-year contract at the end of last season and Warwickshire expected him to be a key figure again this season. Rookie seamer Tom Milnes, who is in his first year as a full-time professional, will take Carter’s place in the pre-season tour squad.
Warwickshire will expect Naqaash Tahir, who played little first team cricket in an injury-ravaged campaign last year, to take up some of the slack once the season begins.
Meanwhile, Warwickshire are still in talks with former Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf about replacing his compatriot Younis Khan as their overseas player for the first two months of the season.
Khan’s decision to tour the West Indies with Pakistan in the opening weeks of the English season has forced Warwickshire to revise their plans to employ only one overseas player.