England spin bowler Graeme Swann was ruled out of the Test cricket series against New Zealand because of an elbow injury that needs surgery as the entire first day was wiped out by rain after the home team chose to bowl.
Swann, 33, will fly to the U.S. next week for the operation, the England and Wales Cricket Board said. James Tredwell will take his place in the squad, while Monty Panesar was chosen as England’s spinner for the opening match against the Black Caps in Dunedin.
Following the surgery on his right elbow, Swann will “undergo a period of recovery and rehabilitation allowing an anticipated return to competitive cricket in the early summer,” the board said in a statement.
England is scheduled to host New Zealand in two Tests starting May 16 before back-to-back five-Test Ashes series, in the U.K. beginning July 10 and then in Australia from Nov. 21.
Swann, whose 212 Test wickets are the second-most by an England spinner, wrote in his column for the Sun newspaper yesterday that he was still experiencing pain after undergoing elbow surgery in 2009.
“When I had my op, the surgeon removed 29 fragments of bone but had to leave a couple around the elbow because of their proximity to the nerve,” he wrote. “It means the joint tends to stiffen up and it certainly hurts whenever I bang it. This year of all years, I don’t want the elbow to cause any problems. I want to be fit for as much Test cricket as possible.”
After New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum won the toss at University Oval and opted to bowl, bad light delayed the start before rain started falling. Play was abandoned at about 4:15 p.m. local time following two inspections from the umpires.
As of tomorrow, play will start half an hour early each day to make up time during the remainder of the match.
New Zealand, which handed debuts to 32-year-old left-arm spin bowler Bruce Martin and batsman Hamish Rutherford, has lost eight of its past 11 elite five-day matches and last won a Test series against England 14 years ago.
The teams are scheduled to play a best-of-three contest, with matches to follow in Wellington and Auckland.
NEW ZEALAND: Hamish Rutherford, Peter Fulton, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, Brendon McCullum (captain), BJ Watling, Bruce Martin, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at email@example.com