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Last Updated: Monday, 16 August, 2004, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Murali has shoulder surgery
M Muralitharan
Sri Lanka will have to cope without their most talented player
Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan has undergone potentially career-saving surgery on his right shoulder.

The world record wicket-taker had the operation to remove a cyst in Melbourne after flying to Australia last week.

The spinner will be out of action until December at least, missing the ICC Champions Trophy in England.

His surgeon David Young said the surgery was a success, adding: "He is feeling fine. He should be back bowling competitively by the end of the year."

Muralitharan holds the world record having taken 532 Test wickets.

Australian Shane Warne will now almost certainly gain the world record.

But Muralitharan said philosphically: "Nothing is a certainty in life.

"I think other people have to have a share. Shane Warne is a wonderful bowler and he should also have the record."

Warne, who completed a 12-month doping ban in February, will have his chance to claim the record outright during Australia's four-Test tour of India in October.

He is currently five wickets behind Murali's mark.

Australia also host two Tests against New Zealand and three against Pakistan during their summer.

As well as the Champions Trophy, Murali could also miss Sri Lanka's tour of New Zealand in December.

The 32-year-old off-spinner has been troubled by his shoulder in the past.

Two years ago, he was rushed to Australia for surgery after tearing ligaments while fielding in the Sharjah Cup final against Pakistan.

He was forced to miss the start of a Test series in England and it took him a while to regain his rhythm.

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