Warwicks hit by Botha knee operation fear

Warwickshire spinner Ant Botha is facing a month on the sidelines because of a knee injury.

The former Derbyshire slow left-armer was forced to withdraw from the County Championship match against Durham at Chester-le-Street after the knee flared up on the eve of the match.

Warwickshire were forced to call up England Under-19 international Paul Best from his studies at Cambridge University for his Championship debut as a late replacement for Botha.

Botha has now been booked in to see a specialist on April 27 but Warwickshire fear that he has suffered cartilage damage which may require an immediate operation.

That would mean an absence of between three and four weeks. Anything more serious would mean a lengthier lay-off.

Botha played little County Championship cricket last season because Warwickshire signed Imran Tahir, the South Africa-qualified Pakistani, as their overseas player.

But Tahir has since rejoined Hampshire, leaving Botha as the senior spinner at Edgbaston with no experienced back-up.

Best and off-spinner Maurice Holmes have both played some first-class experience in university matches. Chris Metters, a former left-arm seamer who has converted to spin in recent seasons, is the other spinner on the staff but he has yet to make his first-class debut.

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