Yuvraj made to sweat two more weeks

Yuvraj Singh will have to wait two more weeks before he knows whether or not he will need surgery. Yuvraj was assessed by Dr. Anant Joshi, the Indian cricket board's designated consultant orthopaedic expert, who declared that Yuvraj's recovery was coming along well and that the ligament tear on the left knee could well heal by itself.

"Mr Anant Joshi has seen him today. He is very satisfied with the progress Yuvraj has made," said Niranjan Shah, honorary secretary of the BCCI, at a press conference ahead of the Indian team's departure to South Africa for their two-month five-ODI and three-Test series. "At the moment surgery is not an option. Joshi will see Yuvraj again after two weeks and then let us know what is the outcome."

Yuvraj tore the ligament in his left knee during a training session in Mohali during the Champions Trophy while playing kho-kho, and has been recovering in Mumbai and Delhi. Yuvraj, who had been walking with the aid of crutches since the injury, told Cricinfo he was much better. Speaking from Delhi, he said: "I am much better now. I've taken a break from the crutches just today and will have to see how my knee responds. The encouraging sign is that I'm able to bend my knee now without much discomfort, which was something I could not do earlier."

It had been widely reported that Yuvraj would be heading abroad, most likely to Australia, for surgery in an attempt to speed up his recovery process. However Yuvraj also confirmed that the next step was to have his knee examined by Joshi in two weeks' time.

Rahul Dravid, the Indian captain, was naturally disappointed at having lost of the team's key one-day players. "He has had a great year-and-a-half, so it's disappointing to have lost him. But we must also view this as an opportunity for other people to stand up and make a mark," he said. "We were without Sachin [Tendulkar] for a while earlier, [Virender] Sehwag had to return from Pakistan. Harbhajan [Singh] didn't play the one-day series in Pakistan. This gave other guys a chance to stand up and be counted and many won man of the match awards and performed well."

Greg Chappell, the coach, agreed with Dravid. "It's really disappointing for Yuvraj, for this injury to come at this time in his career," he said. "But at the same time the team has to view it as an opportunity for someone else to do well. It was when Craig McDermott was injured that Glenn McGrath came into the Australian side and he took his chances and became the champion bowler that he is today. Perhaps someone can emerge out of the shadows and into the sunlight like McGrath did."