Nicky Boje: a loyal soldier for South African cricket © Getty Images

It has been a pretty ordinary 12 months for Nicky Boje - at least as far as international cricket is concerned. On the domestic front, both professionally and personally, things have progressed smoothly which made it all the more difficult to accept the way he was treated when involved in playing for his country.

Almost exactly a year ago he was left out of the first Test against Australia at the WACA ground in Perth as South Africa opted to play an all-pace attack on a pitch which, uncharacteristically, played low and slow. Recalled for the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, he bowled poorly (as did most of the attack) and was promptly jettisoned for the one Test match outside of the subcontinent that every spinner dreams of playing in - New Year at the twirler-friendly SCG.

But he wasn't just dropped. He was dropped and replaced by Johan Botha - a man who had only been bowling offspinners for a couple of years and whose action was widely thought to contain a 'kink' even before he was smuggled into Australia under the media radar a couple of days before the Test.

Then, not only was Boje dropped from the Test side, his services were not required - highly surprisingly - for the VB Series which followed the Tests. A one-day regular until then, Boje found himself back at home in Bloemfontein while Graeme Smith's men struggled against Australia and Sri Lanka and failed to reach the final. Soon after arrival he learned that his national contract was not to be renewed.

Boje ploughed on loyally - and royally for that matter - taking a remarkable 30 wickets in just four first-class matches for the Eagles in domestic cricket. And guess what? When Botha was banned for chucking, the national selectors looked around the country and noticed that the spin cupboard was pretty bare. Apart from Boje. So they recalled him, with no contract, for three Tests against Australia on home soil.

It came as a shock to every cricket follower in the country when Paul Adams was recalled to the Test squad three days ago. This was after two years in the wilderness in which he has barely played domestic cricket.

Boje went to Sri Lanka in August too, and was singled out for praise by both Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara after their world-record stand of 624, noting that he had been "extremely unlucky". In the second Test, a nail-biting affair won by Sri Lanka by just one wicket, he collected four second-innings wickets and came close to winning the game.

So it was fair to assume that his Test career was back on track even if Haroon Lorgat, the convener of selectors, had drawn a line under his one-day career. It came as a shock to every cricket follower in the country when "frog-in-a-blender" wrist spinner Paul Adams was recalled to the Test squad three days ago. This was after two years in the wilderness in which he has barely played domestic cricket. For Boje it was also a slap in the face, opening an old wound.

Then came the salt. Lorgat, in attempting to rationalise Adams's recall, said: "I have always said if we want to become the best team in the world, we have to develop or find a world-class spinner who can take wickets. Apart from a spinner, we have a strong team."

Boje may not be a world-beater, and he is certainly no Warne or Murali. But he is still a fine cricketer and a proud family man. For the last 12 months he has had sand kicked in his face. Now he's had enough.

Neil Manthorp is a South African broadcaster and journalist, and head of the MWP Sport agency