Overseas fast bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe is set to be left out by Essex when they take on Surrey this week in the LV County Championship second division clash at Whitgift School in Croydon.
The match is a high-profile one, and bound to attract the attention of England’s management and selectors due to the presence of the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook, Chris Tremlett, Stuart Meaker and Maurice Chambers in the contest.
But Essex, who have made a disappointing start to the County Championship season with just one win from their five opening matches, have decided that Tsotsobe’s own poor form does not warrant him a place.
“Quite simply, he’s just not bowling well enough,” said Essex first team coach Paul Grayson. “We haven’t seen enough from him in Championship cricket and the decision comes down purely to form. Whether or not you are an overseas player, it doesn’t really matter. If you are not performing then we have to make some changes.
“Maurice Chambers has done pretty well in the second team in the last couple of games and is ready to play and Graham Napier is also back from injury. I thought Chris Wright bowled well last week along with David Masters at Derby, while we also have Michael Comber waiting for his opportunity so we have options.
“We are not scared of making decisions. Tsotsobe’s done alright in the one-dayers so far but he’s had three Championship games and has not performed to the standard we require in four-day cricket. He has not been good enough.”
The South African left-armer, who has five Test caps and 20 one-day international appearances to his name, was signed by Essex on a short-term contract.
His arrival was delayed by a week because of a family bereavement and, when he did make his debut against Northants, his first delivery was a no ball. Although he took his first wicket with the 22nd delivery of his opening spell, he went on to prove very costly conceding 154 runs from his 27 overs with two wickets but 14 further no balls.
In his three Championship outings Tsotsobe has taken just five wickets at 77.60 runs apiece, leaving Grayson frustrated and inviting speculation that he may even return home before his scheduled departure date of June 3.