Warwickshire will be without Ant Botha for up to six weeks after scans revealed that the slow left armer tore a knee cartilage fielding in Easter Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank 40 defeat by Hampshire at the Rose Bowl.
Botha’s knee swelled up on Monday, forcing him out of the current County Championship match against Durham in Chester-le-Street.
The English-qualified South African went for scans on April 27 which revealed the tear. Botha will have an operation as soon as possible but that will not be until next week because of the extended Bank Holiday weekend.
Botha’s absence leaves Warwickshire without a senior spinner and that could pose problems as the Friends Life t20 approaches.
Former England Under-19 slow left-armer Paul Best, who was received an unexpected call-up for his Championship debut against Durham, is studying at Cambridge University and his availability will be limited until July.
Rookie off-spinner Maurice Holmes, who has a Muralitharan-esque action, is at Loughborough University and his only first-class experience so far has been limited to a handful of outings for the university.
Warwickshire’s other spinner is slow left-armer Chris Metters, a winter recruit from Devon. Metters impressed on the pre-season tour to Barbados last month and may find himself playing Championship cricket earlier than expected.
But Warwickshire are unlikely to go into the Twenty20 Cup with two novice spinners, which could force them to recruit an overseas spinner for the short form competition or dip into county cricket’s loan market.
“Ant will be out for four to six weeks,” said Warwickshire’s director of cricket Ashley Giles. “We hopes that it be four rather than six but his situation is complicated because he needs an operation. But we can’t get him in this side of the weekend because of the Royal Wedding and then the Bank Holiday.
“It does leave us with a problem. Paul Best’s availability will be limited by his studies but we definitely need two spinners for the Twenty20 so I will have to look at what options are available.”