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Will Young is set to go under the knife this month to repair damage to his shoulder, stalling a promising run which had him on the verge of becoming a Black Caps regular.
Young, who last week was announced as one of New Zealand Cricket's newly contracted players, was set to make his test debut in March, before the Christchurch terror attacks saw the Black Caps' third test against Bangladesh abandoned. He was also set to be batting cover for the Black Caps at the Cricket World Cup at the end of this month.
Instead, a 'freak' injury, suffered during one of the New Zealand cricket camps in Lincoln last month, will see Young sidelined, potentially for the rest of the year.
The in-form right-hander made 60 off 69 balls against the Australian XI in Brisbane on Monday, and while he will play the final two warm-up games against Australia this week, he will then return home for shoulder surgery, and a recovery period which is expected to take between six to nine months.
Young explained how the decision to opt for surgery came about.
"My throwing shoulder isn't really where it needs to be, I've been in quite a lot of pain throwing. I had a MRI scan the day before I flew out to Australia and the results weren't good – I've done some damage in there that requires surgery. I've had a chat to [coach Gary Stead] and the physios and the doctors and we've come to the conclusion that surgery will be required on my shoulder," he told Radio Sport.
"So, after these games in Australia, I'm going to be returning home to get that surgery done as soon as possible and to start the lengthy rehab process - which is something I'm not looking forward to and is hugely gutting, just after it was announced that I was getting a contract."
The Central Districts batsman was one of the standout players across several levels last season. He averaged 32 at a strike rate of 135 in the Twenty20 Super Smash, 48 in a brief cameo in the Plunket Shield, scored centuries for New Zealand A in both four-day and one-day matches against India A, and bashed a one-day ton overseas against Pakistan A.
It all combined to earn him a call-up to replace an injured Kane Williamson in the test squad against Bangladesh, and while the atrocities committed in Christchurch that denied him an international debut made Young's missed opportunity incredibly irrelevant in relation, this setback compounds the 26-year-old's unfortunate luck of late.
While Young could have potentially battled through the pain in an attempt to get a World Cup call-up as a reserve – he would have been a likely option as top-order batting cover – he believed that ultimately wouldn't have been a wise choice.
"There's a huge amount of 'ifs' going all the way to England as batting cover – you might get added to the squad if something bad happens to one of the top batsmen, but you're not even guaranteed there to get a game, so there were too many 'ifs' to play through the pain and go down that route.
"It means I'm not going over to play some club cricket in England, and perhaps be batting cover over there, but I need to be able to throw and hopefully I've got a few more years left in me yet, so [I'll] get that throwing shoulder sorted and then hit the ground running by next New Zealand summer.
"I think the right decision was made to get back home, and get it sorted out as soon as possible."