England spin bowler Graeme Swann faces a race against time to be fit for this year Ashes double-header after injury forced him out of the Test series against New Zealand on Wednesday.
Swann was a surprise omission from the tourist side to face the Black Caps in the chance Test in Dunedin, with officials later confirming a long-standing problem with his right elbow had flared up, require surgery.
Clearly could not get through the 5 days, England captain Alastair Cook said after Monty Panesar was named to replace Swann in the 1st Test, with James Treadwell joining the squad as cover for the rest of the series.
Swann had bone remains removed from his elbow in 2009 but the surgery was only partially successful and the 33-year-old said he experienced pain in the joint during a warm-up loss to a New Zealand XI match last week.In a column for Britain Sun newspaper this week, he said he feared the upsetting elbow could jeopardize his chances of playing in home-and-away Ashes series this year.
Two editions of the marquee series against Australia are being played back-to-back to avoid a clash with the 2015 World Cup setting up what Swann said was arguably England most year of Test cricket ever.It would be a massive pain in the reverse if my wonky elbow forced me to miss any of the Tests against Australia, he wrote.
I'm absolutely firm to be available for what might be my last 2 Ashes series and that means managing the elbow as well as possible.The England and Wales Cricket Board estimate Swann will be back by early summer after surgery in the United States next week, a tight limit if he is to make the squad for England home Ashes series starting on July 10.
Swann has earned 50 Test caps in a career that includes 2 victorious Ashes series, with the spinner playing a key role both times in prevent Australia from winning the urn.