Birmingham: Lakshmipathy Balaji didn't quite give the impression he was crushed even on the day he learnt he would have to be replaced in the Champions Trophy.
After returning from London on Wednesday night, though, Balaji's shoulders drooped and the (surgery-induced) smile was gone: He was, after all, probably out of cricket for the rest of the year.
Balaji is certainly out of the four Tests against Australia and as good as out of the two Tests versus South Africa. It's to be seen whether he will be available for the tour of Bangladesh ' at the moment, however, it's unlikely.
'Well, he's off cricket for at least two months and complete recovery from the groin problem may take four-five... He's still in pain, but nothing much can be done,' Team India physio Andrew Leipus, who took him to London for an appointment with Dr Chris Bradshaw, told The Telegraph.
According to Leipus, Balaji has a bone inflammation on both sides of the pelvis and recovery is only over a period of time: 'Painkillers aren't the solution, in fact they may retard the recovery process... Dr Bradshaw's opinion is that nature must be allowed to take its course...'
Leipus added: 'More than anything else, Balaji has to focus on the rehab programme... As for the pain, Dr Bradshaw believes it's going to go away one morning... That Balaji will wake up without discomfort...'
For now, Balaji's journey home (Chennai) is going to begin on Friday morning when he leaves Birmingham for London. He will be boarding an Air-India flight from there the same night, informed manager Goutam Das Gupta.
Speaking exclusively, Balaji said: 'It's a setback, yes, but not the end of my career... I reckon things are going to be better once the pain goes... I'll be back, that's for sure...'
Incidentally, another quick ' Zaheer Khan ' is also currently on a rehab programme. Then, Sachin Tendulkar is undergoing the most modern treatment for his tennis elbow.