August 3, 2012

English cricket

Swann not indispensable

Abhishek Mukherjee

Graeme Swann, left out of the England squad at Headingley for the first time since England's tour of the West Indies in 2009, was important to England, writes Vic Marks, in the Guardian. He says Swann would be "jolted" by the omission and that it was a "harsh reminder that no one is indispensable".

The best Test sides and the best batsmen are not intimidated by orthodox off-spin, even if it is being propelled by Swann. Against Australia and India he averages 40 with the ball, against South Africa 38. There is no disgrace in these figures. Overall his record for England is superb (188 wickets at 29). Swann remains an important part of the puzzle and England's best. But, however many one-liners he delivers over the next week, he will be jolted by his omission at Headingley; it is a harsh reminder that no one is indispensable. He will be hurt as well.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain, writing in the Daily Mail, opines that England's decision to omit Swann from the squad and bowl first was not "the product of clear thinking".

If this had been the first Test of the series, and the sun was shining like it did yesterday, what would they have done? My guess is they’d have stuck with the formula that had taken them to the top of the world rankings: three seamers plus Swann, and bat first. That they changed tactics suggested to me that England’s minds are still slightly scrambled after that experience at The Oval, which Swann himself called a ‘public humilation’. And I speak from personal experience. If Andrew Strauss is honest with himself he must know that he’s ended up making decisions that aren’t quite the product of clear thinking.

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