County news May 25, 2011

Tsotsobe released early by Essex

Lonwabo Tsotosbe, the South Africa left-arm pace bowler, has been released by Essex a week before the end of his contract. Tsotsobe's poor form during his stint with the Division Two county side and an outburst on social networking site, Twitter, are the two major reasons for his early departure.

"They [Essex] were not happy with his form," Arthur Turner, Tsotsobe's agent told ESPNcricinfo. "They expected more from him." Tsotsobe signed a short-term deal with Essex and joined them last month. In three first-class matches, he took five wickets at an average of 77.60, which prompted Essex to drop him from the first XI last week . He also played in five limited-overs matches and his eight wickets came at average of 30.25 while he had a bloated economy rate of 6.28.

Tsotosbe expressed his feelings about being dropped on Twitter on Monday when he posted. "Ive never felt like ths eva. Ths is the worst two mnths of my life. And u know wen u start regretin urself it aint gud."

Friends from back home replied to him with messages of encouragement, with many telling him to hang in and see the contract out. He replied to one by saying, "i think i shudhave stayed at home and work on my strength," and another with, "talent is over rated,its the hard work u put wt talent that gets u places. And its just impossible to work in ths environment."

His reaction stunned Essex management, who told the BBC that their hospitality to visiting players had not come under such attack in the past. "Everyone who comes into our dressing room, one of the first things they say to me is what a great place it is to play cricket, because they like the great environment," Paul Grayson, the Essex coach said. "So to hear that he said some things about the dressing room is very annoying."

Grayson also said there was no reason for him to stay around for their next fixture against Gloucestershire, which starts on Sunday. "He is not going to play next week at Bristol so he might as well go back to South Africa," Grayson said. "It's really disappointing. He has got to look at himself. We gave him a great chance to come and play some county cricket and he has not made the most of it."

Grayson added that Essex would put their feelings in a letter to Cricket South Africa. He did not go into detail about the content of the communication that Essex want to have with officials in South Africa, but it will likely deal with the public comments about the club, which Grayson reacted called "downright rude."

Tony Irish, chief executive of the South African Cricketers' Association said that "there is a social networking policy in place and the guys are well aware that there are dangers." Irish could not comment further on Tsotsobe's case in particular but said that if any player is found to have contravened the code, "they will be disciplined." Gerald Majola, the chief executive of CSA, also did not have the exact details: "If Essex want to put it all in writing I will take it up with them or with Lonwabo himself," he said.

This was Tsotsbe's first stint at a county, having previously only played club cricket in England. He was Essex's third choice overseas recruit after attempts to sign Peter Siddle and Tim Southee failed. Turner said that he "struggled with his lengths," as is the case with many bowlers when they first travel to the UK. Tsotsobe has also been in regular contact with South Africa assistant coach Vincent Barnes who said that Tsotsobe felt he was "getting better," although he had battled to adjust to the conditions, including the weather.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent