Mills faces lengthy lay-off
New Zealand paceman Kyle Mills has been sidelined for four months and will undergo shoulder and knee surgery.
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 17/11/09 10:37am
New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Mills has been ruled out of action for up to four months and will undergo shoulder and knee surgery.
Mills, 30, will miss the entire three-Test series with Pakistan plus the series against Bangladesh in February, and is also a huge doubt for the home series against Australia in March.
His next realistic aim is to return to full fitness ahead of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup next April.
"Hopefully I can rehab well and be back playing cricket towards the end of March," Mills said. "My surgeons seem reasonably confident I will be back playing by that time.
"With the World Cup not until towards the end of April it gives me a good month-and-a-half of cricket before that tournament."
Mills injured his shoulder during the ICC World Twenty20 in June this year but revealed he has been struggling with patella tendonitis for some time.
"The shoulder injury was a bit of a freak accident. I just landed on it as I dived for a ball and landed awkwardly and tore my rotator cuff off the bone," he told Radio Sport.
"I tried to do a lot of rehab on that over the winter and it just got to the stage on the last tour (of Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy) that it was really affecting my bowling.
"The knee problem is just the general wear and tear of an international bowler.
"It's been bugging me for a good two years and I have been trying to play through it but it's just got to the stage where I can't put up with it any more."
But the fifth-ranked one-day international bowler believes his enforced lay-off will enable him to prolong his career in the long-run.
"I am going to be 31 by the time I get back on the park and I really feel I have got three to four years of international cricket in me," he said.
"I have got a few parts of my game I really want to leave my mark on. Test cricket I want to excel in that area and obviously I am really keen for this team to win a one-day World Cup.
"I really want to be part of that."
Mills' absence gives fellow pace bowlers Tim Southee and Daryl Tuffey a chance to stake their claims for regular inclusion against Pakistan.
He added: "There is a lot of competition within the bowling department. A reflection of that is how well our guys have done on the international stage and our international bowling rankings reflect that.
"There's a lot of depth in the bowling and a lot of guys competing with each other. If you get an opportunity you really do have to take it."