Caddick's Test career in doubt

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The England career of Andrew Caddick could be over after it became clear yesterday that the fast bowler will miss the remainder of the season because of a back injury. Caddick, who has played only two games of cricket for Somerset this summer, picked up the injury while recovering from a stress fracture to his right foot.

The news came as a further blow to England after rain forced yesterday's NatWest Series one-day international against Zimbabwe at Headingley to be abandoned as a draw. The result diminishes the chances of Michael Vaughan's side reaching the final of the Tri-Nations series, which also includes South Africa.

Caddick's problem was diagnosed as sciatica, but a scan last week revealed the 34-year-old has a prolapsed disc in his back. It is believed that the air cast Caddick was wearing to protect his right foot caused an imbalance when walking which aggravated an old complaint that has affected him on and off for the past two years.

Dr Peter Gregory, the chief medical officer of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said: "Andrew has been given stronger medication to relieve the back problem. If this does not control the pain, the specialist will give him an epidural injection.

"His condition will be reviewed six weeks from now and if he has not improved, then surgery will be considered. He will not play cricket during this time and has been advised to rest for the remainder of the season."

With England possessing an exciting group of young fast bowlers, there have to be serious doubts as to whether Caddick will return to the England fold. The injury appears certain to rule him out of the winter tours to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the West Indies and by the start of next season Caddick will be 35.

David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, said: "It is not going to be easy for him. Coming back after a whole season out will take a lot of hard work but I am sure he will not want to finish in this way. He will want to challenge the younger guys and play for England again."

Caddick retired from one-day cricket after the World Cup, but in 62 Test matches for England he has taken 234 wickets at an average of 29.91. His last Test was England's victory against Australia in Sydney where he took 10 wickets in a Test for the first time.