MONTY PANESAR has been cruelly overlooked by England after the withdrawal of the injured Graeme Swann from the first two one-day internationals against South Africa this morning.
Panesar, currently playing for the Highveld Lions, might have expected a call from coach Andy Flower given his presence just down the road from the team hotel in Sandton. But they turned to James Tredwell of distant Kent instead, ignoring the experience of Panesar, 27, who has played 39 Tests and 28 ODIs for England.
Just last week Luton's turbanator took six wickets on his domestic Super Sport championship debut for the Lions against the Cape Cobras at Newlands in Cape Town.
Tredwell, also 27, captained England's Under19s way back in 2002. He was included in an ODI squad last year but has never actually played an international and averages 33.78 for his 228 wickets taken over the last eight years at Canterbury. Panesar has taken 360 first wickets in the same number of summers, averaging 33.02.
Panesar told Sky Sports: "I've got to produce some performances out here. I need to work on taking responsibility for my whole game, not let anyone else be responsible for my thinking.
"It's a completely different environment out here, it will help me as a human being and hopefully put me in a better place when I play for the England team.
"The reason I've moved to Sussex from Northamptonshire is because Sussex have a family feel, I want to be part of that. From an England point of view, playing a key role for Sussex in all forms of the game will help me get back in the England team."
With Swann ruled out by his intercostal rib injury - he twittered earlier in the week he felt "as stiff than a Bangkok prison sentence" and was "getting too old for all this" - and Stuart Broad's shoulder still causing problems, England go into Friday's opening ODI at the Wanderers with an attack also weakened by ongoing injuries to James Anderson and Paul Collingwood, though both expect to be fit.
Yorkshire's young tweaker Adil Rashid, their only other real spinning option, is in shocking form having been hit for four sixes in his only Twenty20 over last Sunday and registered figures of 0-44 in the warm-up win over South Africa A in Potchestroom this week.