World record Test wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan will fly to Australia later on Thursday for shoulder surgery.
The Sri Lanka off spinner pulled out of the second and final Test against South Africa which started in Colombo on Wednesday because of intense pain in his bowling shoulder, and he is also expected to miss the one-day series that begins next week.
"We spoke to Dr David Young (Sri Lanka's Melbourne-based surgeon) last night (Wednesday) and he (Muralitharan) will now be leaving tonight (Thursday)," team manager Ajit Jayasekera told Reuters.
According to team physio C J Clarke, Muralitharan, 32, is suffering from general wear and tear, and a build up of fluid around a nerve.
Sri Lanka's medical team are hopeful he will be fit for next month's ICC Champions Trophy in England but the full extent of the injury will not be known until his operation.
"Until we know what the surgeon has done we cannot speculate on how long he will be out of action," Clarke said.
"If the fluid is drained and that relieves the pain, then he could be back for the Champions Trophy, which is our aim at the moment," Clarke said.
"But if David Young decides to clean up the joint, or finds out anything else that is wrong, then he could be out for longer."
Muralitharan has taken 532 wickets in 91 Tests.