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Mondli Khumalo 'fit and strong' after successful final round of surgery

Former South Africa Under-19 player had been hospitalised after an assault near Taunton in May

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
Mondli Khumalo bowls for South Africa Under-19s against Bangladesh Under-19s, Under-19 World Cup 2020, Super League, quarter-final 3, Potchefstroom, January 30, 2020

Mondli Khumalo was assaulted in May  •  ICC/Getty Images

Mondli Khumalo, the former South Africa Under-19 and Kwa-Zulu Natal Inland bowler, has had a final, successful surgery after being assaulted in Somerset in May. He is now able to move around without a protective helmet and hopes to be able to return to professional cricket by early next year.
"That was the final piece of the puzzle," Rob Humphries, Khumalo's agent, told ESPNcricinfo. "Now it's about healing and the pathway back to professional cricket. He is in great spirits and physically, he is really good. He can get up and walk about. It's about being able to get back in the gym and rebuilding his fitness. He is fit and strong and in a really good space."
Khumalo, who was on his first trip as an overseas professional at North Petherton Cricket Club, was attacked outside a pub in Bridgwater, near Taunton, where he was celebrating a win with his team-mates.
A 27-year-old man was arrested and released on investigation and the case awaits the go-ahead from the crown prosecution service.
Khumalo was unconscious at the scene and then placed in an induced coma for four days. He had three operations to relieve pressure and bleeding in the brain. Ten days after being hospitalised, Khumalo was able to stand unaided and his club team-mate Lloyd Irish shared a video of Khumalo catching a sponge ball.
His fourth and final operation, to replace the piece of skull that had been removed to attend to the brain injury, took place on September 7. It would have taken place sooner, but was delayed by several weeks after Khumalo contracted Covid-19. He will remain in England until he is cleared to travel, with Humphries aiming for a November return. Khumalo's mother and uncle, who made the trip across from South Africa to England soon after the attack, have already returned home and Khumalo has been in the club's care.
In June, they organised a crowd-funding campaign to help with the costs of Khumalo's treatment, which is chargeable by the NHS, and raised £27,379. Further funding will be needed, as his bills have exceeded this amount.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent