Ravi Bopara was Tuesday ruled out of England's two remaining one day internationals against India and this month's Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa with a broken thumb.
Right-hander Bopara, 22, dislocated and fractured the thumb on his bowling hand in England's defeat in the fifth one dayer at Headingley on Saturday.
England lead the series 3-2 with two matches left to play. The loss of Essex's Bopara is a particularly severe blow because of uncertainty over the availability of his fellow all-rounder Andrew Flintoff.
Lancashire star Flintoff missed the Headingley clash with a recurrence of the ankle problems that have forced him to have three operations in three years, and is doubtful for the sixth match in the series against India, at The Oval on Wednesday.
David Graveney, the chairman of England selectors, said Flintoff would be seeing his surgeon later on Tuesday and admitted he may have to miss the trip to South Africa.
"He's not ruled out of tomorrow - but at the same time, he is not definite to go to the Twenty20, because we have to wait for that medical opinion tomorrow," Graveney said.
The selectors' chief also revealed that Bopara could be doubtful for England's one-day series in Sri Lanka next month.
"Four to six weeks is the medical prediction - which falls around about the one-day tournament," Graveney said.
England had already called Sussex all-rounder Luke Wright into their NatWest squad as cover, following Bopara's injury.
Wright was already in the 15-man Twenty20 squad -- meaning England will have to find another replacement for Bopara in South Africa.
Fast bowler Chris Tremlett is unfit for Wednesday's match because of a foot problem - and he too could end up dropping out of the Twenty20 party, which is due to leave for South Africa on Sunday ahead of the September 12-25 tournament.