Muralitharan's surgeon has recommended an immediate operation to avoid long-term tendon damage. The bowler travelled to Melbourne to see Dr David Young, Sri Lanka Cricket's surgeon, after playing in a three-match series in New Zealand to raise money for victims of the Asian tsunami, during which he complained of severe pain in his bowling shoulder.
When the shoulder - which was operated on last August to drain a painful cyst - was scanned, Young identified a torn muscle tendon that needed to be operated on to prevent long-term damage. His manager said yesterday that the player would have surgery "in the next 24 to 48 hours".
Muralitharan, who missed several tours in 2004, has been told he will be out of action for another eight to 10 weeks, which means that he is a serious doubt for Sri Lanka's rescheduled tour of New Zealand in April. The 32-year-old off spinner will hope to be fit enough to play for Lancashire by mid-April.