Mashrafe Mortaza to undergo knee surgery

Bangladesh's main strike bowler Mashrafe Mortaza will undergo knee surgery, keeping him out of the game for at least eight months, after suffering an injury during the second Test against England recently.

The 20-year-old grabbed a career-best four for 60 in the first innings of the Chittagong Test but fell over clutching his right knee while bowling in the second innings.

"Initially we thought he would be okay in four or five weeks, but MRI scans have shown he needs a full ligament reconstruction," Mahbub Anam, a director of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), told reporters.

Mortaza will travel to Australia for surgery in Melbourne and will then undergo rehabilitation. "If there are no complications in the operation or in the recovery process, he should return to international cricket for the Champions Trophy one-day tournament in England next September," Anam said. Bangladesh's next series is in Zimbabwe in January 2004.