Strauss to miss out on Finals Day
Middlesex have suffered a major setback in their preparations for the Twenty20 Cup finals day at the Rose Bowl after Andrew Strauss was ruled out.
The England opener was made unavailable by the England and Wales Cricket Board, because they want to rest him before the third Test with South Africa.
Middlesex coach Toby Radford, a former England youth player, told BBC London 94.9: "It's a huge disappointment.
"I've got a call saying they were going to pull Andrew out."
Radford says Strauss did want to play.
But England's selectors felt it was more important for the 31-year-old to take some time out, as they look to level the series after a 10-wicket defeat at Headingley on Monday.
"He's played back-to-back Test matches, and they didn't believe eight days off in the next two weeks was going to be enough."
Radford went on to add that he tried his best to change their minds: "I spoke to [England coach] Peter Moores, he spoke to me after the game and said he'd sat down with Straussie and just believed it was a heavy Test match series and really needed the time off between games.
"I pointed out it was a Twenty20 match, it doesn't last for too long and wasn't going to affect him energy-wise and it was a huge huge game for the club - probably the biggest we've had in 15 years, but unfortunately it didn't twist him really."
Radford admits that victory in the semi-final on Saturday is as, if not more, important than actually winning this year's competition, with a lucrative prize at stake: "For us, winning the semi-final is massive. We get into the Champions League, we go off to Dubai for 10 days at the end of September.
"I even put to Peter Moores, 'look we'll just play him in the first game', so if we got to the final I'd probably leave him out because for us the first game is the biggest game and getting into that Champions League."