In picking the young Lancashire left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan in an unusually expansive 14-man squad for the final Test at The Oval, England are either drawing a line under the Test career of Monty Panesar or, in keeping him out of the limelight, showing some understanding and duty of care to a troubled cricketer going through a tough patch in his personal life.
It would be a shame if it were not the latter, given the tolerance and help offered to other England cricketers in the past.
Three weeks ago Panesar was included in the squad for the third Test at Old Trafford and by all accounts came close to playing. Before that he had been included in practice sessions for the second Test at Lord's. Clearly at that stage he was regarded as the second-best spinner in the country. Nothing in the interim has happened in strictly cricketing terms to alter that view.
Both he and Kerrigan have played one more first-class match, Panesar collecting two wickets for Sussex in a defeat by Derbyshire and Kerrigan three in Lancashire's innings defeat of Leicestershire. Kerrigan also played in the two-day fixture against the Australians at Northampton, taking the wicket of David Warner but suffering at the hands of Shane Watson. So nothing was gained or lost either way.
What has happened is The Incident. To refresh the memory: having been released by England from Old Trafford, Panesar had been in a Brighton night club until the early hours, with his Sussex team-mate Rory Hamilton-Brown, had consumed too much alcohol and following an altercation within the club was escorted out.
He chose to respond by going to the promenade above the club and peeing over it in the general direction of those who had ejected him. It was not clever, not to be condoned but a direct result of his alcohol intake.
He was fined by the police for his behaviour and faces disciplinary procedures from Sussex, his employers. It is expected in the very near future that a parting of the ways will be negotiated, with him playing the remainder of the season on loan, possibly to his former club Northamptonshire, although Essex and Derbyshire have also been mentioned.
This has been the culmination of a distressing period in his life during which his marriage broke up acrimoniously and his relationship turned sour at a county where he had appeared to have prospered following his split from Northants.
Panesar is said not to be a regular drinker, his problem with alcohol being more to do with his low tolerance and reaction to it when he does drink. This last occasion appears to have been stimulated in part by extreme disappointment at not playing at Old Trafford, a ground on which he has enjoyed great Test-match success.
Given the circus that would be sure to surround him had he been included in the Oval squad, and the fact that Kerrigan is unlikely to play, it makes sense not to have included him now. There is simply too much going on for that to have been a viable option. And, looking to the future, there is a chance to see how Kerrigan, uncapped in any of the formats, fits into the group.
This does not, or should not anyway, give an indication about the winter, however. If Graeme Swann were unable to play in this coming Test, then, with the Ashes won, there would be nothing lost by playing Kerrigan.
It would be a different matter were he to become unavailable in Australia and an experienced high-class spinner with 164 Test wickets, including 12 five-wicket hauls, might be considered more valuable than a novice.
Players perceived as 'difficult' or having 'issues' have been accommodated in the past, from Phil Tufnell and Andrew Flintoff through to Kevin Pietersen. There ought to be no reason for Panesar to be treated differently.
England have included no fewer than five seamers in the squad, with one of Chris Tremlett, Steve Finn and Chris Woakes expected to replace the injured Tim Bresnan.
With his batting ability, Woakes is a like-for-like selection but probably too lightweight as a bowler to be considered as part of a three-man attack.
The Oval is Tremlett's home ground but in the T20 finals at Edgbaston over the weekend he looked well off the pace. Unless he can up this, it will be Finn who returns.
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