England wicket-keeper Matt Prior admits his cricket career "hangs in the balance" as he battles to recover from achilles surgery.
The 32-year-old has not represented his country since the second Test defeat to India at Lord's last July. Since then he has undergone surgery on the tendon injury and has been in rehab in order to make a return to the sport in 2015.
Prior is not expected to recover in time for the start of the domestic season or the three-Test series in the West Indies in April, and the South African-born player's role as chief executive of the recently formed One Pro Cycling team has drawn questions over his future.
Speaking to IBTimes UK, Prior said: "The big question everyone has been asking me is 'when are you going to be back?' 'How many more months?' 'What is the date?' 'When are you going to play again?'
"I don't know and that is as frustrating for me as it is for anyone else. I can't put a time limit on it.
"I have been a professional sportsman for 15 years and I want to carry that on. That is why I am putting a huge amount of time and effort and energy into making sure I can get back to that. Fingers crossed I can, but the reality is it is hanging in the balance and who knows?
"I need to firstly get myself to a place where I can play cricket again and then go and play and see how my body reacts and see how my achilles reacts to that. It's a long way off, it is a very slow process but the determination and passion is certainly there to get back."
Despite Prior's determination, the form of his replacement in the England team, Jos Buttler, and his own physical condition may prevent him from playing in his fifth Ashes series when Australia tour England this summer.
However, Prior is yet to but a deadline on proving his fitness to the England and Wales Cricket Board, and to himself.
"I've not really put a ceiling on it to be honest," Prior said. "I need to make sure I get this rehab right. They are small steps. It's frustrating but it is necessary for what I need now.
"The Sussex staff [and] the ECB staff, from the physios point of view, are giving me every opportunity to get back and I am hugely committed to doing that, but we'll have to play it by ear."
'It's my choice not to reply to Pietersen'
Prior has also been at the centre of an off-field furore involving Kevin Pietersen, who accused him of being a "schoolyard bully" during the pair's time in the England team, and creating a discordant atmosphere which came to a head during the humiliating Ashes defeat in Australia last winter.
Though the now-ostracised Pietersen has made public his fury with Prior, the structure of the ECB and the coaching team, Prior has remained silent on the subject, instead preferring to keep his side of the story to himself.
"That is a completely different thing altogether," Prior responded when asked to compare his own refusal to respond to Pietersen's comments and his desire for his One Pro Cycling riders to be transparent.
"I have a choice, and a personal choice."