England in Bangladesh, 2009-10 March 17, 2010

Swann leaps to No. 2 in Test rankings

Cricinfo staff
38

Graeme Swann's 10-wicket match haul in the first Test at Chittagong has catapulted him to second place in the ICC's Test bowling rankings - the highest position for an English bowler since Steve Harmison reached No. 1 in August 2004.

Swann sent down 78.3 overs in the match, conceding 217 runs and striking five times in each innings. When Junaid Siddique and Mushfiqur Rahim's four-and-a-half hour rearguard effort began to look threatening, he broke their 167-run stand, eventually dismissing both batsmen, and fittingly closing off the Test match with his dismissal of Naeem Islam.

Swann's stellar rise is made even more remarkable by considering the fact that he was in 23rd position only eight months ago. During this period, he has played 10 Tests and taken 45 wickets, including 14 against Australia and 21 against South Africa, and his consistent performances against such high-ranking opposition have contributed considerably to his ascent.

"He's got six five-fors in the last year alone, and he's been fantastic," said Swann's England team-mate, Stuart Broad. "He waited a long time for his chance - eight years in the wilderness, as he puts it - but since he's come back in, he's looked dangerous, particularly in his first overs, and it's been brilliant for the lads to have him in the bowling unit.

"The whole side is delighted for him to be No. 2 in the world, and we all hope he gets to No. 1. It's been good for the England side with him taking regular wickets - and the seamers can take a lot of credit for the pressure they build up at the other end - and it's helped him to climb the ladder fantastically."

Swann ended 2009 - a year in which he took 54 wickets in 12 Tests - in third position, vaulting up from 11th after his man-of-the-match performance at against South Africa at Kingsmead, where he completed match-figures of 9 for 164. He had slipped to fifth before the start of the Bangladesh series, but rose once again after his tireless effort in the first Test.

In a testament to his value to England, Swann has also moved up to third in the rankings for Test allrounders, edging ahead of Bangladesh captain Shakib al Hasan.

For his part, Hasan has climbed to 15th in the bowling rankings, moving up three places, after recording match figures of 5 for 195 in the first Test. Mushfiqur, who scored 79 and 95 in the match, has jumped 12 places to 34th, with Tamim Iqbal rising three places to 37th and Junaid - who hit his maiden Test century in Bangladesh's second innings - vaulting 12 places to 60th.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ballonbat on March 19, 2010, 8:22 GMT

    Tlotoxl, You are right that Swann was more successful than the other 3 spinners in 2009. But you present your argument poorly: Swann played 12 Tests and bowled in 21 innings. How can you compare the number of wickets alone that he took with the 18 that Mendis took, when he only played in 7 Tests. Or with Singh who played in half the Tests and in fact would have taken more wickets than Swann in the period if he had played as much (29 in 6, compared with Swann's 54 in 12). Murali only played 8 matches for his 26. In fact if Swann HADN"T taken more wickets than the others it would have been an embarrassment. Your argument on wickets alone is like saying 'Tiger Woods hasn't won any tournaments in the last 3 months but Joe Soap has won 4. So Soap is a better player than Woods.' This is why all rankings (tennis, gold, cricket) take the long view. And of course, Nair, I am not talking about past greats, otherwise Bradman would be permanently no. 1. Kallis and Ponting are playing today.

  • Screen1990 on March 19, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    swann is 2nd best current off spinner after murali for sure, he is surely betterthan mendis and overrated harbhajan

  • on March 19, 2010, 1:12 GMT

    like people have said below - the rankings are based on form only. there is no such list for overall great players. even so, how could you measure who is the greatest player ever? everyone has a different opinion, and there is no footage of players playing before 1920s/30s other than written articles. swann is a very good player, and makes the most of his ability consistently. better equipped spinners, for example say mendis, despite his awesome start, has not been able to make the most of his talent on a consistent basis. that is why swann finds himself in no.2 spot, and not the likes of mendis or other higher skilled spinners

  • BillyCC on March 18, 2010, 22:42 GMT

    I'm sure that all the comments criticising the rankings know how the rankings work. And yes, it is based on form. But the question is: is this the best way? Heed has asked: "what's ranking if it's not a guide to current form?" Well we have awards nights for international player of the year to address current form. Rankings should be a total package: form, consistency, impact on a team's performance, number of top-order vs tailend batsman out, career averages and economy rates. The system used to calculate such a measure is very difficult, and so the current system is adopted because it is much easier to administer. On that basis, Swann fails on the averages, consistency and the impact on a team's performance (Stuart Broad and Flintoff would get the credit for delivering the killer blows to defeat Australia, and Broad and Swann get the credit for the win against South Africa).

  • Avery_Mann on March 18, 2010, 22:08 GMT

    "Graeme Swann: England's most potent weapon since Steve Harmison in his pomp?" That's funny on so many levels.

  • Tlotoxl on March 18, 2010, 19:06 GMT

    Murali: 26 wickets in 2009. Mendis: 18 wickets in 2009. Harbhajan 27 wickets in 2009. (and incidentally only 2 against Bangladesh in Jan - Swann got 10 on one of the flattest pitches on the planet) Swann got 54 (that does *not* include the Bangladesh tests) that tells you everything you need to know - especially since he was playing most of the tests against the 2 best teams, SA and Aus.

  • kpisthebest on March 18, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    Swann is better than Mendis for sure as even the Black Caps played him ok last year in Lanka. Mendis has already been found out!

  • PottedLambShanks on March 18, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    Ballonbat, is it the case that you don't like Swann because he doesn't chuck it?

  • DuncLancs on March 18, 2010, 15:14 GMT

    People are being very simple here. If you want to know who the best players are over a long period of time then look at their averages. 50+ average for a batsman over a decade tells its own story eg. Ponting, Tendulkar etc. Tne ranlkings show who has been the best recently ie Amla, Swann etc. Its very simple. Nobody is suggesting that Swann is as good as Warne and Murali. He's a finger spinner, to take the number of wickets he has in such a short period of time as an ORTHODOX right arm off spinner is a great achievement. People wrote off his brand of spin as a force in Test cricket. They were wrong. Well done Swanny, keep it up!!

  • on March 18, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    some of these comments talking rubbish. Swann is 2nd top of the rankings because he has earned it, he has been the best spinner of the last year in tests no doubt. Rankings are basically a measure of form over the last year. As for you saying batsman are working him who exactly has worked him out I can't remember anyone taking him to the cleaners and he just took 21 wickets in a series against South Africa and 10 in one Match last week (admitiley against weak oposition but you can only beat whats in front of you). Cant help thinking people dont like hime being up theer just cause he's not a star name like Murali.

  • ballonbat on March 19, 2010, 8:22 GMT

    Tlotoxl, You are right that Swann was more successful than the other 3 spinners in 2009. But you present your argument poorly: Swann played 12 Tests and bowled in 21 innings. How can you compare the number of wickets alone that he took with the 18 that Mendis took, when he only played in 7 Tests. Or with Singh who played in half the Tests and in fact would have taken more wickets than Swann in the period if he had played as much (29 in 6, compared with Swann's 54 in 12). Murali only played 8 matches for his 26. In fact if Swann HADN"T taken more wickets than the others it would have been an embarrassment. Your argument on wickets alone is like saying 'Tiger Woods hasn't won any tournaments in the last 3 months but Joe Soap has won 4. So Soap is a better player than Woods.' This is why all rankings (tennis, gold, cricket) take the long view. And of course, Nair, I am not talking about past greats, otherwise Bradman would be permanently no. 1. Kallis and Ponting are playing today.

  • Screen1990 on March 19, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    swann is 2nd best current off spinner after murali for sure, he is surely betterthan mendis and overrated harbhajan

  • on March 19, 2010, 1:12 GMT

    like people have said below - the rankings are based on form only. there is no such list for overall great players. even so, how could you measure who is the greatest player ever? everyone has a different opinion, and there is no footage of players playing before 1920s/30s other than written articles. swann is a very good player, and makes the most of his ability consistently. better equipped spinners, for example say mendis, despite his awesome start, has not been able to make the most of his talent on a consistent basis. that is why swann finds himself in no.2 spot, and not the likes of mendis or other higher skilled spinners

  • BillyCC on March 18, 2010, 22:42 GMT

    I'm sure that all the comments criticising the rankings know how the rankings work. And yes, it is based on form. But the question is: is this the best way? Heed has asked: "what's ranking if it's not a guide to current form?" Well we have awards nights for international player of the year to address current form. Rankings should be a total package: form, consistency, impact on a team's performance, number of top-order vs tailend batsman out, career averages and economy rates. The system used to calculate such a measure is very difficult, and so the current system is adopted because it is much easier to administer. On that basis, Swann fails on the averages, consistency and the impact on a team's performance (Stuart Broad and Flintoff would get the credit for delivering the killer blows to defeat Australia, and Broad and Swann get the credit for the win against South Africa).

  • Avery_Mann on March 18, 2010, 22:08 GMT

    "Graeme Swann: England's most potent weapon since Steve Harmison in his pomp?" That's funny on so many levels.

  • Tlotoxl on March 18, 2010, 19:06 GMT

    Murali: 26 wickets in 2009. Mendis: 18 wickets in 2009. Harbhajan 27 wickets in 2009. (and incidentally only 2 against Bangladesh in Jan - Swann got 10 on one of the flattest pitches on the planet) Swann got 54 (that does *not* include the Bangladesh tests) that tells you everything you need to know - especially since he was playing most of the tests against the 2 best teams, SA and Aus.

  • kpisthebest on March 18, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    Swann is better than Mendis for sure as even the Black Caps played him ok last year in Lanka. Mendis has already been found out!

  • PottedLambShanks on March 18, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    Ballonbat, is it the case that you don't like Swann because he doesn't chuck it?

  • DuncLancs on March 18, 2010, 15:14 GMT

    People are being very simple here. If you want to know who the best players are over a long period of time then look at their averages. 50+ average for a batsman over a decade tells its own story eg. Ponting, Tendulkar etc. Tne ranlkings show who has been the best recently ie Amla, Swann etc. Its very simple. Nobody is suggesting that Swann is as good as Warne and Murali. He's a finger spinner, to take the number of wickets he has in such a short period of time as an ORTHODOX right arm off spinner is a great achievement. People wrote off his brand of spin as a force in Test cricket. They were wrong. Well done Swanny, keep it up!!

  • on March 18, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    some of these comments talking rubbish. Swann is 2nd top of the rankings because he has earned it, he has been the best spinner of the last year in tests no doubt. Rankings are basically a measure of form over the last year. As for you saying batsman are working him who exactly has worked him out I can't remember anyone taking him to the cleaners and he just took 21 wickets in a series against South Africa and 10 in one Match last week (admitiley against weak oposition but you can only beat whats in front of you). Cant help thinking people dont like hime being up theer just cause he's not a star name like Murali.

  • nair_ottappalam on March 18, 2010, 13:11 GMT

    To all the friends who have posted comments, I would like to say that ICC has introduced this ranking system which is based purely on the current form and not on the overall performance. One might be aware of the fact that West Indies were invincible in the period of Sobers, Lloyd, Richards etc. Now they are down to earth. Can they be termed no. 1 now? Sri Lanka was an easy meat before 1990s and was the least ranked test team. Do they stand at that point now? Amla did well recently and he is at the top of batting list and Swann, if he bowls well can also become no. 1 bowler. It doesn't mean that these players altogether eliminate the Pontings, Tendulkars or Muralis from the arena. Given the current form, Murali is nowhere near his best and doesn't qualify to be no. 1 bowler. One more thing I would like to add is that Swann did well in South Africa before coming to Bangladesh. Since SA is no. 2 side in the world, his performance against them fetches him huge rewards.

  • ballonbat on March 18, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    So, who would you rather face tomorrow? Graeme Swann? or Murali, Mendis, Harbajhan and co? Form is temporary and international batsmen are working Swann out; often the case that players do well in their first season. It's ridiculous to have Swann at the top of the rankings. Sure, he's a good player but not that good. There should be a separate listing for form players. E.g. there is no way that Ponting or Kallis or Tendulkar belong further down the current rankings than Amla (whom I admire hugely) or Ponting below Clarke and Smith. We are talking greats as compared to good players who are in top form.

  • Heed on March 18, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    What's ranking if its not a guide to current form? How far back do you go? Why should someone who was top wicket taker against arguably the best side in the world (SA), got 14 in the ashes, is always changing the course of matches as soon as he comes onand provides invaluable support tirelessly at one end so that others get get in on the fun - and still knock over quality batsmen - be penalised becasue he's only been in the international game for 15 months? It's about the now - it has to be. What's 2008 got to do with how effective someone is today? Immotive issue - everyone will have a view. I am struggling to think of someone more consistent in the past year.

  • oracle22 on March 18, 2010, 6:58 GMT

    Swann takes 35 wickets in 9 Tests against Aus & SA and then 10 in one match against Bangladesh.....and it moves him to No. 2 in the world?????? I'm confused

  • lukes_legend_team on March 18, 2010, 6:03 GMT

    how do these rankings work? clearly they dont reflect how good a player is

  • Percy_Fender on March 18, 2010, 4:49 GMT

    It is not surprising that Graham Swann has picked up 79 wickets in just 17 Test matches after his latest 10 wickets in the Chitagong Test. From the time we saw him in the Chennai Test when he had Gambhir and Dravid in his first over it was clear that he thrived on confidence and aggressiveness in a competetive way not in the abusive sense even if his outburst at Chitagong might cause some people to severely question me in this regard. He bowls a good line, has enough turn and places his field quite sensibly. That apart he has a fair degree of flight and his pace varies to keep the ball above the eye brow level of the batsmen which as Bishen Bedi says is the most important element in a spinner's bag of skills.He is intelligent which enables him to set batsmen up as well. He may not yet have the 19 wicket eminence of a Jim Laker or the sorcery of Prasanna or the diligence of a Tayfield but he will be a great bowler not too long from now. I expect him to lay into the Australians next time

  • raghavaussiecombine on March 18, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    its good to see a potent spinner going around in test cricket! there haven't been many of those for a while. and this fella is refreshing with his big-mouth.

  • jezzricho on March 18, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    Ha ha ha ha this just shows how stupid the ranking system is! There would not be 1 batter in international cricket who would rate Swann in there top 50 let alone number 2!

  • Addy77 on March 18, 2010, 1:36 GMT

    Does anyone knws who is behind Swans Success ??? its Englands new Spin Bowling Coach Mushtaq Ahmed no one mentioned his name how sad before him swan was nothing and now he is at the top..

  • Cricketencyclopedia on March 17, 2010, 23:27 GMT

    Kudos must be given to Graeme Swann for his tremendous effort in his match against Bangladesh. To take 10 wickets in a match is an amazing feat. Swann continues to get better & better with his bowling, no wonder why he has risen to No.2 in the world test bowling rankings. I''m pretty sure he will be a major threat to the Aussies when England go down under to begin their defence of the ashes later this year.

  • BillyCC on March 17, 2010, 22:06 GMT

    Perhaps this highlights a problem in the rankings system, which should actually be renamed a "form guide". It gives all the weight to recent performances and nothing much else. Swann is in no way the second best bowler in the world under any measure. Neither is the likes of Mitchell Johnson who in recent times has been up there, based on a short period of good performances. Rankings systems should reward longevity as a number one priority and form should take a second or third priority.

  • on March 17, 2010, 20:06 GMT

    Well done that man! He's worked hard and deserves his recent success.

  • on March 17, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    Good Ol' Swanny, an englishman who actually spins a ball, a rarety to start with

  • CM_Kannan on March 17, 2010, 18:48 GMT

    Statistics is a devil's tool... which is probably why it is really interesting to man... I have no clue how Swann managed this entry... regardless, kudos to him...

  • muthu77 on March 17, 2010, 18:04 GMT

    Bring him to India. Sehwag will ruin his rankings

  • British-Bangali on March 17, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    Well done Graeme Swann much deserved if he can keep this level up he can be as important to Eng as the great warny was to the Aussies. Good to see good improvement by indivitual Bangladeshi players just hope to see more unity teamwork by the Bangladesh team maybe five 50 by the team rather then just 1 big performer. Keep up the good work can't wait for the final test.

  • 5860733 on March 17, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    Great performance frm the young spinner.......................He can change the whole match one handedly .!

  • Munsta101 on March 17, 2010, 17:42 GMT

    Well deserved.

    He's taken his wickets against the best. And now he will get to improve his average against the easy teams (Bangladesh & Pakistan) during the English summer.

  • zwartedepiet on March 17, 2010, 17:14 GMT

    Swann is a beautiful off spinner. Great to see an offie with a straight arm using the traditional art of drift, turn and bounce to get so many wickets. A batting average like his is also very impressive given his current place in the order, no fluke averaging 30+ after that many innings. Particularly given that he is invariably batting in carefree mode with the tailenders. His ascent and the rise of Owen Morgan are the two most refreshing additions to English cricket in years.

  • Theborngenius on March 17, 2010, 16:39 GMT

    Great going Swanny. Hoping to see you at the top in both the rankings very soon..............

  • on March 17, 2010, 16:16 GMT

    When will Swann's luck run out, basically ever since he made his test debut he's been taking wickets consistently. It's almost as if the rest of the international world has never seen an orthodox off-spinner before. Very effective but not a trail blazer on the county circuit his continued success was and is a pleasant surprise and should be enjoyed by England for as long as it lasts. The real test will come in Australia with relatively little spin on offer and an Australian batting line up out for revenge. However, personally he must be hoping that Australia line up with both Johnson and Bollinger in the team, giving him a lot of rough to work with outside the right hander's off stump. It will be interesting to see how he goes down under, but if all else fails it would be worth giving him 1 over spells having taken a wicket in the first over of a spell 18 times in 17 test matches according to another Cricinfo article! Amazing Stuff!

  • KhuMir on March 17, 2010, 15:51 GMT

    Congratulations, good work

  • proteasrulz on March 17, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    good bowling from swan..............he bowled his heart out

  • Shithin on March 17, 2010, 15:21 GMT

    congrats swann i knew he would do well in international arena

  • Cricket_fan_el102 on March 17, 2010, 14:37 GMT

    These rankings just lost any credibility they had.

  • allblue on March 17, 2010, 14:37 GMT

    I suppose from an England point of view there is an obvious question. Did Duncan Fletcher's early unfavourable assessment of Swann's attitude cloud his judgement and deprive England of a match-winner at a time they desperately needed one? Or alternatively, does this back the 'learn your trade in the County Championship first' argument? Either way, his emergence is great for both England and Test cricket generally, a skilful attacking cricketer with bags of personality. Breath of fresh air etc.

  • DarkNite108 on March 17, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    It's an insult to all the test bowlers like steyn, johnson, etc that this lard is no.2

  • hoodbu on March 17, 2010, 14:15 GMT

    Where's the link to the full rankings?

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • hoodbu on March 17, 2010, 14:15 GMT

    Where's the link to the full rankings?

  • DarkNite108 on March 17, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    It's an insult to all the test bowlers like steyn, johnson, etc that this lard is no.2

  • allblue on March 17, 2010, 14:37 GMT

    I suppose from an England point of view there is an obvious question. Did Duncan Fletcher's early unfavourable assessment of Swann's attitude cloud his judgement and deprive England of a match-winner at a time they desperately needed one? Or alternatively, does this back the 'learn your trade in the County Championship first' argument? Either way, his emergence is great for both England and Test cricket generally, a skilful attacking cricketer with bags of personality. Breath of fresh air etc.

  • Cricket_fan_el102 on March 17, 2010, 14:37 GMT

    These rankings just lost any credibility they had.

  • Shithin on March 17, 2010, 15:21 GMT

    congrats swann i knew he would do well in international arena

  • proteasrulz on March 17, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    good bowling from swan..............he bowled his heart out

  • KhuMir on March 17, 2010, 15:51 GMT

    Congratulations, good work

  • on March 17, 2010, 16:16 GMT

    When will Swann's luck run out, basically ever since he made his test debut he's been taking wickets consistently. It's almost as if the rest of the international world has never seen an orthodox off-spinner before. Very effective but not a trail blazer on the county circuit his continued success was and is a pleasant surprise and should be enjoyed by England for as long as it lasts. The real test will come in Australia with relatively little spin on offer and an Australian batting line up out for revenge. However, personally he must be hoping that Australia line up with both Johnson and Bollinger in the team, giving him a lot of rough to work with outside the right hander's off stump. It will be interesting to see how he goes down under, but if all else fails it would be worth giving him 1 over spells having taken a wicket in the first over of a spell 18 times in 17 test matches according to another Cricinfo article! Amazing Stuff!

  • Theborngenius on March 17, 2010, 16:39 GMT

    Great going Swanny. Hoping to see you at the top in both the rankings very soon..............

  • zwartedepiet on March 17, 2010, 17:14 GMT

    Swann is a beautiful off spinner. Great to see an offie with a straight arm using the traditional art of drift, turn and bounce to get so many wickets. A batting average like his is also very impressive given his current place in the order, no fluke averaging 30+ after that many innings. Particularly given that he is invariably batting in carefree mode with the tailenders. His ascent and the rise of Owen Morgan are the two most refreshing additions to English cricket in years.