worcestershire have been hit by a double injury setback with indian spinner ravichandran ashwin and new zealand batsman martin guptill ruled out of returning during the finale to the season.
ashwin had been set to undertake a second spell at New Road for the final two specsavers county championship matches of the campaign.
but those hopes have been dashed because of the groin injury ashwin suffered the current test series with england and which prevented him from playing in the fifth and final test at the kia oval.
ashwin picked up 20 wickets in four championship matches for worcestershire last summer in addition to scoring vital runs and played a big part in securing promotion back to division one.
he had stated his desire to return for a second spell but those hopes have now had to be shelved.
worcestershire are considering the options for a potential overseas replacement and will make an announcement if and when any plans are finalised.
the county had also been hoping to secure the services of guptill for vitality blast finals day at edgbaston next weekend.
he played in seven blast games for the rapids earlier in the summer and signed off with a 35 ball century against northamptonshire steelbacks – the second fastest in the history of t20 domestic cricket in this country.
guptill had been playing in the caribbean premier league for barbados tridents and their failure to reach the knockout stages opened the door for a possible return for blast finals day.
but he picked up a hamstring during the latter stages of his time with the tridents and this has also ended his hopes of returning to worcestershire.
worcestershire ceo matt rawnsley said: “it’s a shame ravichandran ashwin will not be able to return to us because he made such a big impact here in 2017 and was keen to come back.
“he has gone on record about how much he enjoyed it here last summer.
“but the injury he has been struggling with in the test series against england means that it is not possible and we wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.
“we are exploring our options for an overseas replacement for the final two championship matches.
“the news is not good regarding martin guptill either. we had been in touch about whether there was a chance of him coming back for finals day.
“anyone who witnessed his hundred against northamptonshire will never forget it, a superb display of clean hitting.
“sadly he is laid low with a hamstring injury and will not be able to return for finals day.”