India news July 12, 2011

Surgery sidelines Pujara for four months

ESPNcricinfo staff

Cheteshwar Pujara, the India batsman, will be out of action for four months after undergoing knee surgery. He injured his right knee during the IPL earlier this year, missed out on much of that tournament and was forced to skip the recently concluded West Indies tour as well.

Pujara, 23, is currently undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, and still needs the help of crutches to walk. "The last time I injured my left knee, during the second IPL, there was a lot of pain," he told the Indian Express. "This time there was no pain at all and doctors believed I could get fit for the tour of England. But I was asked to consult Dr Andrew Williams [in England] who advised me to undergo surgery."

The surgery puts the brakes on Pujara's attempts to seal a permanent spot in the Test XI. After several seasons of heavy run-scoring in the domestic circuit, he delivered on Test debut last year with an enterprising second-innings 72 to seal a home-series win against Australia.

His absence from the West Indies tour and the forthcoming visit to England allows other contenders like Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh to make their case for the only middle-order opening available in the Indian team.

"I don't know what the future holds. I'm hopeful of making a comeback," Pujara said. "I think I have given my best during the opportunities I have got."

Another, more senior, member of the Indian team is also at the NCA recovering from injury. Virender Sehwag, who had shoulder surgery in May, spent 40 minutes on Tuesday afternoon facing gentle throwdowns. He hasn't played since the IPL, and will miss at least the first Test of the England series.