England in Bangladesh, 2009-10 March 17, 2010

Swann leaps to No. 2 in Test rankings

Cricinfo staff

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

  • Martin 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.

  • Yaswanth 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

  • Dummy4 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

  • Billy 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 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.

  • Luke 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.

  • Barath 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!

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

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

  • Duncan 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!!

  • Dummy4 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.

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