New Delhi: Sidelined with a foot injury since April, a fit-again Saurav Ghosal, the country's leading squash player, will return to the PSA Tour at next month's Australian Open.

The 24-year-old will feature in a warm-up invitational event in Cleethorpes in England on July 22-23 before hitting the glass-court for the tough Australian Open, a World Series Platinum tournament beginning in Canberra on August 8.

Ghosal, ranked 24th in the world, has been recuperating in Leeds, England from a freak injury he suffered in the semifinals of the Irish Open in April. The Indian ace conceded that his recuperation was "pretty frustrating".

"I had two tears under my left foot (one in the plantar fascia and the other one in a tendon connecting one of the small toes). The first month was pretty frustrating, as I was on crutches and pretty much bed-ridden.

"After that, I did a lot of rehab work on strengthening my foot. After about 6-8 weeks, I started playing again and I've been building up slowly. I have had to stay patient through this time as rushing back could have been catastrophic. Now the injury seems to have heeled completely and I am back to full training," Ghosal said.

In the semifinal of the Irish Open against Egyptian Tarik Momen, the Kolkatan was within reach of winning the match when he twisted his ankle while trying to manufacture a shot.

An MRI scan had revealed the seriousness of the injury.

Bronze medallist in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, Ghosal exuded confidence and said he will be back to his best by the time the Australian Open starts.

"I have given myself enough time to prepare. The Australian Open maybe my first PSA event, but the warm-up event in Cleethorpes will help me sharpen up. I love playing the big events and I'm looking forward to the Australian Open," he said.

The Australian Open is a top-flight event on the world circuit and all the leading players, including world number one Nick Matthew, number two Ramy Ashour, will be competing in the event.

Ghosal has a tough draw as he is slated to meet Australian Stewart Bosewell in the opener. If he manages to get past him, Ashour will be waiting in the second round.

"I will have to play well to win my first round against Boswell. I lost to him in New York in January, but I'm hoping to reverse the result this time and come out victorious.

"Regarding Ramy, I'm not thinking that far ahead. I'm going to take it one match at a time. Boswell is a highly accomplished player and hopefully, if I can get past him, I will turn my attention to Ramy," he said.

Ghosal said he was very disappointed to have missed the Asian Championships due to injury.

"Of course it was very disappointing to miss the Asian Championships. I was top seed for the event and had struck a rich vein of form at that time. However, injuries are part and
parcel of a sportsman's career and I just have get on with it.

I will have my chance to win the Asians soon enough," he said.

Talking about the future assignments, he said, "I will be leading the Indian team at the World Men's Team Championships (21-27 August) in Paderborn, Germany. I really hope we do well as a team and finish towards the top of the standings."
 
(Agencies)