England v Bangladesh, 1st Test, Chittagong, 5th day March 16, 2010

Swann apologises for celebration outburst


As a man who once feared his international career would be limited to five wicketless overs in a forgotten ODI in Bloemfontein, Graeme Swann is in a hurry to make up for lost time. So much so, that even when the conditions have seemingly been designed to slow him down, he still continues to take strides into the history books. On Tuesday in Chittagong, he completed the first ten-wicket haul of his career (having earlier in the game bagged a wicket in the first over of a spell for the 18th occasion in 17 Tests) to emulate the late, great Jim Laker, the last England offspinner to achieve such a feat, in 1956.

Laker, as it happens, grabbed the small matter of 19 for 90 on that famous occasion at Old Trafford to secure match figures that may never be equalled. But he would at least have sympathised with the hard toil that Swann had to put in to get his rewards, having whirled his way through 51.2 overs in Australia's second innings of that match, compared to Swann's 49 on days four and five in Chittagong.

"I certainly didn't realise I was the first since Jim Laker, so to be in that esteemed company is a really nice feeling," Swann said. "But I wasn't thinking about that when I was bowling. All I was thinking about was how on earth are we going to break this partnership that has lasted for four-and-a-half hours, so to get through that and end up with ten was the icing on the cake."

The partnership in question, between Junaid Siddique and Mushfiqur Rahim, spanned 69.4 overs and more than two sessions, and had worn England's patience to the bone by the time the breakthrough did finally come. Two overs after lunch, Junaid propped forward to be caught at slip by Paul Collingwood, and Swann's loud and clear reaction was one that he instantly regretted. Laker, who used to celebrate his wickets with a cursory handshake and a flick of his jumper over the shoulder, most certainly would not have approved

"It all happened in the heat of the moment and it certainly wasn't anything malicious," said Swann. "I apologise unreservedly if I did swear - and I know I did - because it's certainly not something I condone. I feel a bit ashamed, because it wasn't meant as a personal slight at him, it was just a release of pent-up emotion.

"He batted phenomenally, and it's a testament to him that he did get everyone frustrated," added Swann. "To bat for four-and-a-half hours - and we think we're a pretty decent attack, albeit on a pretty flat wicket - he proved a real thorn in our side. That was born out of emotion, which is exactly what Cooky [Alastair Cook] told us not to do, so I'm in his bad books."

On the subject of the outburst, Cook diplomatically claimed not to have heard anything, but added that he had no objection with England playing the game hard but fair. "Emotion does sometimes take over but we still executed our skills well," he said. "In hot conditions, it was easy for things to bubble over a lot more than they did, but I was happy with the aggression we showed. Not giving an inch, that's what international cricket is about."

If Swann really is in his captain's bad books, then he is unlikely to remain there very long, because Cook knows that his spinner is England's most potent matchwinner of recent times. He has now claimed 79 wickets in 17 Tests, including six five-fors - the last of which came during their memorable innings victory over South Africa at Durban. In addition to those, he played key roles in both of England's victories over Australia at Lord's and The Oval in the summer, and Cook believes that he's heading for a special slot in England's annals.

"Swanny has so much control of his game," said Cook. "He's very easy to captain, he knows the fields he wants, and you trust him to make the breakthrough. To get ten on that wicket was an amazing effort, and he bowled a lot of overs so that shows his determination. Everything is going right for him, and the skill he's shown over the past 12 months proves it's not a fluke. If he keeps his feet on the ground, there's no reason why he can't [be one of the greats]. If he can keep producing performances, I'm sure he'll continue doing it."

Efforts such as the one he produced in this match will aid his overall development as a player, because as Swann himself said, he was forced to alter his natural gameplan to conquer conditions that didn't aid his variations. There was even an unveiling of a ball that went the other way, which he coyly admitted was something he'd been working on - "I've not come up with a name for it yet, as spinners are supposed to do," he said. "Perhaps I'll call it the Chittagong.

"It was a flat pitch, but there wasn't any pace either, so my normal trick of trying to slide one off the pitch for an lbw against the left-hander was straight out of the window," he said. "It didn't turn anything like as much as we hoped it would as the game wore on, which is probably the reason why Bangladesh bowled first to start with, even though that worked in our favour."

Overall, however, Chittagong provided another five days of satisfaction to file away in Swann's cuttings book, even if today's effort did require a change of cap at lunch to ensure a swift end to proceedings. "It just keeps getting better, and I'm more than happy with how things are going," he said. "But I'm very superstitious. If I've not taken a wicket for a while, then you'll probably find me changing my hat or switching the bails around."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. Go to http://twitter.com/miller_cricket to follow him on Twitter through the England tour of Bangladesh.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Alex on March 19, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    sabina- he's bowled the aussies out already

  • Tauhidul on March 19, 2010, 9:32 GMT

    I think wat Swann did was Ok. He might have got bit emotional but he is at least a Human being, right? and moreover, he can be happy with the partnership which was really danerous.

  • Amit on March 19, 2010, 7:57 GMT

    Havent u guys gt it :D Okies let me xplain a simple rule of cricket Passion,Doing everythin for wining,Sledging,Being foul mouthed, Jelly Beans, using mint for reverse swing... u c dis all these r reserved for only 2 countries.. AUS and Eng..it like patent items guys.. ofcourse wen some1 else uses it its a CRIME and dey r bound 2b punished.. Frnakly in sometime soon Eng n AUS will actually patent d above mention things :) So follow d rule, ur nt allowed to show passion if ur nt from Aus or Eng. If u do ICC wil charge u with bans :D . .. . . Get over guys..lets play simple cricket.. bowler sould celebrate a wicket,cherish it bt not cross ur line... imagine a Batsmer doing d same wen he reaches 100, jst walkin upto each bowler and sayin things...doesnt look a good picture,rite :D

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2010, 3:58 GMT

    come on people! leave it. bring the old sledging days back. Bring the aggression, the foul mouthed confrontations and the calming down afterwards. Sports gives you a lot of emotions. It is in all the sports. We just make ourself confuse by calling cricket "gentlmen;s game". Go back in prime of test cricket. Aggression was always there. Only onething is necessary; leaving everything on field back when you cross the boundary ropes. You need it if you want to see test cricket survive.

    As a Bangladeshi, I want to see the same. Shakib going wild after getting KP one more time. Thats how the legacies are born.

  • Minhaj on March 19, 2010, 3:21 GMT

    Swann took 10 wickets against a weak Bangladeshi side. It is not at all a big deal. I would have appreciated his performance if he had taken 10 wickets against countries like South Africa, Australia or India. There is no need for him to cherish on this moment. We are waiting to see how he performs against the Aussies.

  • Amit on March 19, 2010, 3:19 GMT

    The Offspinner Swann must have broken a old cricketing record but against a inexperienced and not a incapable team. Bangladesh deserves accolades more than England for their fighting spirit. Bangladesh Players should get some more experience in neighbouring countries domestic circuits like our country India as it will help them be more strategy specific both while batting or bowling. Racism in punishments especially against Subcontinental teams not new as Sachin like cricketing genius got accussed of ball tampering or even lying on another occassion as cultural perjudice gets better of good conduct on cricket field . Its amusing that Sports passion theory only exists for Australia who consider themselves self acclaimed Guardians of Game with their copycat friends South Africa and England basically win so few matches against Quality Test Teams anywhere that passion boil over every time as every win is a rarity to be treasured so they can be forgiven as they never do it routinely.

  • Bang on March 19, 2010, 2:07 GMT

    Bangladesh supporters? Why you are NOT rather overjoyed that to promote Swann's extra-ordinary "achievement" (Tony Greig did that before but he is a turncoat so Brit Press are simply mum on it), they also uplift Bangladesh cricket status? At least, they are no more calling the series "a walk in park", nor mentioning that they are playing against the most no-good cricket team awarding whom the test-status simply lowered whole cricket, etc. Find some point to smile and join the English celebration, HOORA!

  • Bang on March 19, 2010, 1:56 GMT

    Arzoo_USA? Shocked at the double standard of the whole so called FIRST WORLD'S double standard and hycrisy? Read this artcile wtitten by one, who has seen teh most of such amongst anyone in cricket :)

    Holding critical of 'first-world hypocrisy' August 28, 2006

    Excerpts: QUOTE There is a double standard at work in cricket and this episode has only highlighted it. When England used reverse-swing to beat the Australians in the 2005 Ashes, everyone said it was great skill. When Pakistan does it, the opposite happens, no one thinks it is great skill. Everyone associates it with skullduggery.

    "When bombs go off in Karachi and Colombo everyone wants to go home. When bombs go off in London, no one says anything. That is first-world hypocrisy and we have to live with it." UNQUOTE

  • Dre on March 18, 2010, 23:24 GMT

    @Arzoo. Oh I forgot to add...I NEVER said I was English. I don't wish to reveal my nationality because I want to avoid being accused of national bias. Believe or not, I don't have a problem with scolding my players when they play poorly or do something wrong and I don't have a prob with praising the opposition either. The only thing I've ever revealed is the fact that I am not an Aussie fan (and I give them credit when it is due anyway).

  • Dre on March 18, 2010, 22:55 GMT

    @ Arzoo_USA. Ok i'll accept a difference in culture. You have your culture and I have mine. I've played and been sledged and sledged back and then chill with the same player after the game (not just cricket). I read Viv Richards autobiography once. He referenced an incident where he and Ian Botham exchanged some explicit lang. after he nicked 1 and didn't walk...guess what? Ian Botham is his son's godfather ;) don't take my word for it, you can buy the book in stores. I've watched cricket for a little over 15 yrs and I've seen guys really have a go at each other (including old footage) and I don't recall there being a fine. Remember Alan Donald vs Arthurton. Oh well...guess you didn't watch that game. Check it out on youtube. P.S. Arthurton signed his glove and gifted it to Donald, now they're buddies.

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