Graeme Swann has been rested for the remainder of the one-day series in another indication of the concerns around his troublesome elbow which may require surgery in the future. James Tredwell, the Kent offspinner, will replace him for the final three matches.
Swann will return for the Twenty20 series next month which precedes the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka where England are defending their title. Despite a lean summer Swann is still integral in all three formats which means there is precious little opportunity to find a long-term fix for his elbow problem which is caused by floating bone fragments.
England play a four-Test series in India during November and December, which will be Alastair Cook's first assignment as Test captain, before returning for a one-day series in the New Year, then there is a full tour of New Zealand which includes three Tests. If Swann does require surgery it cannot be left too late if he wants to regain fitness in time for next year's Ashes series which is followed immediately by a return series in Australia.
Swann, who was controversially dropped for the second Test against South Africa, has taken just 10 Test wickets this season in five matches during a summer badly disrupted by the weather. He was previously rested for the latter part of the one-day series against Australia after England had taken a 2-0 lead, but this time the home side are 1-0 down to South Africa after an 80-run defeat on Wednesday where Swann took 2 for 50.
Tredwell was not included in the World Twenty20 squad - Hampshire's left-arm spinner Danny Briggs was preferred - but remains Swann's understudy in the 50-over format having played the final ODI against Australia at Old Trafford where he took 2 for 23. He has a good chance of featuring on the tour to India, too, having been included as back-up to Swann for the Sri Lanka trip earlier this year.