South Africa in England 2012 July 31, 2012

Oval a 'public humiliation' - Swann

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England's defeat in the opening Test against South Africa has been termed a "public humiliation" by Graeme Swann and continued what he said had been a "dismal" run of results since the team achieved their No. 1 ranking a year ago.

The innings-and-12-run loss was their fifth in nine Tests this year, which included a 3-0 whitewash against Pakistan in the UAE. In contrast, they did not lose a Test the previous year and won six of their eight matches, propelling them to the top.

After ending the opening day of the first Test against South Africa in a good position on 267 for 3, following a hundred by Alastair Cook, England lost their way on the second before being shut out of the match by a record-breaking performance from South Africa's top order. Hashim Amla hit the country's first triple century and added an unbroken 377 with Jacques Kallis.

With four sessions remaining England should have been able to save the Test but lost four wickets late on the fourth day and were bowled out by tea on the last after a succession of poor shots by the batsmen. The result has left them needing back-to-back victories to preserve their winning run on home soil, which dates back to the last time South Africa visited in 2008.

"After a few days it doesn't get any prettier," he said. "Even though we gave away a couple of soft dismissals you think 260 for 3 should have been a platform for 500. Almost from the moment we turned up on day two the wheels fell off the wagon - it was awful. Can't really describe it any other way.

"It was a sort of public humiliation by the end of it, fielding that long and then getting skittled afterwards. I think that prompted that meeting afterwards and prompted a lot of honesty and people saying that's not going to happen again.

"It's the old kick up the arse isn't it? You can approach everything holistically and be a bit trendy about things but sometimes a size ten up the backside is what you need and if ever you have a boot up the arse it was last week. I can't deny the fact that since we've been number one we've got a dismal record. Whether that goes hand in hand with being number one I don't really know, you need someone more qualified with the workings of the human mind."

In the hours after the match finished England held an honest meeting in the dressing room before departing their separate ways, with most players escaping the intensity of cricket for a few days. It was not the first no-holds-barred debrief the team have had while under the leadership of Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower, but rarely have they needed them more after such a comprehensive defeat.

"Normally you can't wait to see the back of each other after a loss and we disperse quickly but the two Andys were quite keen to make sure we focused on it," Swann said. "So we sat down and got quite a bit of honesty from the group, which happened. It was a horrible two hours as it was about 300 degrees in that hot, sweaty changing-room. But I think it brought the best out of the situation as there was a lot of honesty, a lot of people raising their hands saying we should have done this better and that better. I think that works, but for me if a game goes like that I just pretend it never happened."

England's rise up the Test rankings to No. 1 has given the squad a belief - highlighted by victories at The Oval in 2009, Melbourne in 2010 and Colombo this year, which followed heavy defeats - but the ever-honest Swann admitted that attempting to bounce back at Headingley will be one of the side's biggest tests.

"It will have taken a dent last week, because to get bowled out twice on that pitch was pretty inexcusable and to take two wickets in 190 overs was equally inexcusable. But having had that meeting afterwards and everyone switching their focus to this game hopeful it will be water under the bridge. We're behind now and hopefully people will come out fighting."

England's Test form in 2012 has been far from the consistent excellence they produced the year before. However, until last week at The Oval the bowlers had at least kept the side in with a chance by taking 20 wickets in a variety of conditions. Steven Finn, who Swann called "the unluckiest man in world cricket" for not finding a regular place in the team, and Graham Onions are again included in the squad for the second Test and, along with likely debutant James Taylor, were the only members of the 13 playing Championship cricket between the Tests. While a tinker with the attack may be required, Swann does not think the time has come to deploy five bowlers, despite the loss of Ravi Bopara's medium pace.

"There will be calls for it in some quarters after taking two wickets in 180 overs. I don't think we should change a great deal," he said. " I don't think we should hit the panic button because what we have done, even through the period of fairly poor results, we have still bowled well as a unit and bowled teams out twice."

Investec, the specialist bank and asset manager, is the title sponsor of Test match cricket in England. Visit the Investec Cricket Zone at investec.co.uk/cricket for player analysis, stats, Test match info and games.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lovedegame on August 2, 2012, 21:03 GMT

    Dying for you to show my previous two comments Mr. Metty is missing me plzzzz

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 2, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    It's so funny to see how some Indian fans manage to rile up the English supporters. It's hilarious ! I would personally turn a deaf ear to them if I was English. The fact is that England don't look like a no.1 test side. Even the Indians didn't. It's time for a new champion in my opinion. Performances at home do matter but they are hardly a yardstick to measure greatness. In that case this England team is only half good. They managed to play all their series at home and thumped most opposition. That counts but it isn't enough in my books. They will be tested in the subcontinent for sure where they are suspect in slow and low conditions. I would personally love to see England perform well away from home. As an Indian supporter I wish them well for the Headingley test.

  • RandyOZ on August 2, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    Almost as humiliating as Swann's extremely premature book release?

  • Meety on August 2, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    @reality_check27 - none of the tests you mentioned (Oz in India), were anywhere near as one-sided as India's recent jaunt in Oz! To top it off, Dravid is no more, VVS is looking close to his expirary date (shame as I think he is fantastic), who knows why SRT is still playing, & your spin bowling options are looking shabby. I would be keeping your powders dry sunny jim, otherwise you could have MORE egg on your face brother! @Lovedegame on (August 01 2012, 21:00 PM GMT) - surely you are just pretending to be a desperate Indian fan? Nobody could make that type of comment up & actually mean it?

  • phoenixsteve on August 1, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    @lovedthegame.... so the picture shoow Swanny on his knees? He's still taller than Tendulkar! :~)

  • m1991vicky on August 1, 2012, 21:05 GMT

    @JG2707: No, we are still older..... But lets see what these old men have to offer the 'English Young Guns' this year :)

  • Lovedegame on August 1, 2012, 21:00 GMT

    @JG2704 who said you beat an aging batting line up, you beat no bowling (Dhoni bowling) or batting (No Sehwag,Yuvraj,Gambhir) line up

  • Lovedegame on August 1, 2012, 20:56 GMT

    hahahh.... I have had enough of giving my opinion on this thread.. I donot need to say more please look at the PICTURE above and that explains it all... Scroll up.... Yes he is on his Knees....

  • The_bowlers_Holding on August 1, 2012, 19:39 GMT

    vallavarayar one of very few posts on here that is considered and makes any sense rather than the usual my dad is bigger than yours bile.

  • JG2704 on August 1, 2012, 19:26 GMT

    @m1991vicky on (August 01 2012, 15:01 PM GMT) Indeed but by the same token we have been told by a number of Indian fans that last year we beat an ageing batting line up etc. So are Sachin , Gambhir , Sehwag and VVS growing younger now?

  • Lovedegame on August 2, 2012, 21:03 GMT

    Dying for you to show my previous two comments Mr. Metty is missing me plzzzz

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 2, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    It's so funny to see how some Indian fans manage to rile up the English supporters. It's hilarious ! I would personally turn a deaf ear to them if I was English. The fact is that England don't look like a no.1 test side. Even the Indians didn't. It's time for a new champion in my opinion. Performances at home do matter but they are hardly a yardstick to measure greatness. In that case this England team is only half good. They managed to play all their series at home and thumped most opposition. That counts but it isn't enough in my books. They will be tested in the subcontinent for sure where they are suspect in slow and low conditions. I would personally love to see England perform well away from home. As an Indian supporter I wish them well for the Headingley test.

  • RandyOZ on August 2, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    Almost as humiliating as Swann's extremely premature book release?

  • Meety on August 2, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    @reality_check27 - none of the tests you mentioned (Oz in India), were anywhere near as one-sided as India's recent jaunt in Oz! To top it off, Dravid is no more, VVS is looking close to his expirary date (shame as I think he is fantastic), who knows why SRT is still playing, & your spin bowling options are looking shabby. I would be keeping your powders dry sunny jim, otherwise you could have MORE egg on your face brother! @Lovedegame on (August 01 2012, 21:00 PM GMT) - surely you are just pretending to be a desperate Indian fan? Nobody could make that type of comment up & actually mean it?

  • phoenixsteve on August 1, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    @lovedthegame.... so the picture shoow Swanny on his knees? He's still taller than Tendulkar! :~)

  • m1991vicky on August 1, 2012, 21:05 GMT

    @JG2707: No, we are still older..... But lets see what these old men have to offer the 'English Young Guns' this year :)

  • Lovedegame on August 1, 2012, 21:00 GMT

    @JG2704 who said you beat an aging batting line up, you beat no bowling (Dhoni bowling) or batting (No Sehwag,Yuvraj,Gambhir) line up

  • Lovedegame on August 1, 2012, 20:56 GMT

    hahahh.... I have had enough of giving my opinion on this thread.. I donot need to say more please look at the PICTURE above and that explains it all... Scroll up.... Yes he is on his Knees....

  • The_bowlers_Holding on August 1, 2012, 19:39 GMT

    vallavarayar one of very few posts on here that is considered and makes any sense rather than the usual my dad is bigger than yours bile.

  • JG2704 on August 1, 2012, 19:26 GMT

    @m1991vicky on (August 01 2012, 15:01 PM GMT) Indeed but by the same token we have been told by a number of Indian fans that last year we beat an ageing batting line up etc. So are Sachin , Gambhir , Sehwag and VVS growing younger now?

  • JG2704 on August 1, 2012, 19:26 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 01 2012, 11:48 AM GMT) Swann knows they are going 6/1/4 so wouldn't want to be seen as going against the selectors even if he thinks differently himself

  • JG2704 on August 1, 2012, 19:25 GMT

    @reality_check27 on (August 01 2012, 15:20 PM GMT) Maybe you should get your facts right before specially asking Cricinfo to publish your post. England beat both Pak and SL away in the last decade

  • serious-am-i on August 1, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    @A_Vacant_Slip: care to explain what trash did I post in pak v england thread my friend ? lol !! seriously u have a bleak memory. Do u want me pat u for English failing pathetically against Pak lol, don't even think about that lol. An over hyped team will always remain the same. My point of view has always been same, Eng are a good side at home, pathetic in sub-continent and against spinners, finally England don't deserve to be called no.1 side. I always claimed SAF are the better of the entire lot in the world. They have good record not just in SA but in subcontinent as well & they have been the only team which enjoyed more success against India in India than any other team for a way long now.

  • balajik1968 on August 1, 2012, 17:36 GMT

    Interesting. Almost half the English team has been talking since the defeat in the Oval. In contrast the Saffers have been quite silent, except to say that the Oval was history. Let us see what happens in Headingley. If England goes out of the way to prepare a green-top, it could backfire considering the Saffers have the bowling to exploit the conditions.

  • reality_check27 on August 1, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    what are some of the aussies talking about. austrlia has played 8 test matches in india since 2004 and have lost 6 and managed to draw 2 and u think they will win . and as far as england goes the only team that they have beaten in a teset series since 1990 on subcontinent pitches is bangladesh so some aussies who want to see england thump india in india its not going to happen but tell u what is going to hhappen another ashes thuping for u is waiting in englan fater u loe to india in india and to south africa in australia crickinfo please publish

  • m1991vicky on August 1, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    @MattyP1979: Surely every member of your team and your so called "World Class Bowling Lineup" were there in the 2008 tour where India won 1-0. You couldn't even defend 387 on a crumbling Chennai track on the 5th day....Remember the treatment your best spinners - Swann and Panesar got at the hands of Viru and Sachin!!!! What do you say for this!!!!! Indian tracks will favor spin on day 4 & 5.... But our tracks will not favor us from day 1 just like English tracks do, which in turn is backfiring now against SA,..... There are tracks in India which favor pacers too like the ones at Mohali.... I believe can certainly beat England 4-0..... Seriously did you believe last year that England will beat India 4-0..... Cricket is an unpredictable game and anything can happen..... Only time will fetch us the result....

  • StatisticsRocks on August 1, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    @jb...Same sentiments are also echoed agnst ENG my friend...beware what u ask for including ur friend from down under

  • StatisticsRocks on August 1, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    @Meety: We will serve you DUSTBOWLS...inspite of sprinkler and long hose....

  • A_Vacant_Slip on August 1, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    @ serious-am-i (August 01 2012, 13:27 PM GMT) LOL. After some of the trash you posted on Pakistan V England thread - don't you think it is a bit rich calling to "not bash"!!?!?!? Hard to take you seriously.

  • Lovedegame on August 1, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    I wish Swann would stop talking so much, he really is creating a lot of haters around the globe.. H has such a long way to go.. the problem is he already feels he is one of the best, that he might be (right now) but to be a legend you got to shut up, keep your head down and talk on the field.. Like (Kumble, Murali, and Warne sometimes.) No respect 4 you Swann

  • serious-am-i on August 1, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    come on guys some patience please. England were humiliated in the first test, it should have been a hard reality that they are not really no.1 deserving team but yeah Eng have had a good record back home, so I will not be surprised if they manage to level or win the series even now, but the chances are very unlikely - its cricket which we all love - is highly unpredictable anything can happen. But seriously, fans from across the world let us not bash each other unnecessarily. From an Indian cricket fan :)

  • on August 1, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    This SA team is formidable...all bases covered...don't see an English come back...as for the tag of no.1 test team is concerned..this belongs to South africa!

  • vallavarayar on August 1, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    Test arena is the real test, isn't it. The Indians couldn't handle being number one and seems like the English can't either. It just shows what a honest-to-God awesome team the Australian team of yore was.

  • valvolux on August 1, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    this reminds me so much of the meetings that occurred when Australia started losing in 05. It was as if a meeting to was all of a sudden going to make playing good bowlers a bit easier. The difference being that Australia had had 10 years of blitzing every other team and proving time and time again they were number 1 - so perhaps they had reason to believe that it was a mental thing rather than a form thing. When teams are playing better cricket, you have to get into the nets and work on your weaknesses, not sit around and talk about it. As for the trusty negativity that comes from india whenever anyone better than them loses - Australia will be coming in with a far tougher series against Pakistan in Dubai under their belt and England already drew against a far better Sri Lankan team earlier this year. India at home isn't the same daunting prospect as it once was, considering the batting consists of Kholi and a bunch of grandpas and the bowling attack..well,it consists of nothing

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 1, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    "While a tinker with the attack may be required, Swann does not think the time has come to deploy five bowlers, despite the loss of Ravi Bopara's medium pace..." I disagree entirely, and if this is indeed the feeling in the England camp, then I don't want to see anymore articles about bowler injuries/fatigue/surgery/overworked/tired etc. etc. and excuses for not picking up 20 wickets per match.

  • on August 1, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    @legb4 - Buddy your Aussies are following the English team to India, never mind India will give both of you a good pounding. Smacking our lips already.

  • jb633 on August 1, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    @legb4- and vice versa from an Englishman. I adored watching you guys thump India in all formats this winter. Any team vs India and I know who I will be supporting.

  • Meety on August 1, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    @jasonpete - true, but here's a tip (to BCCI), a sprinkler & long garden hose! LOL!

  • JG2704 on August 1, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    @maddy20 on (August 01 2012, 02:17 AM GMT) Your views re Swann certainly aren't echoed by your countrymen on here mind

  • JG2704 on August 1, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    @the_blue_android on (July 31 2012, 16:55 PM GMT) In your world what part of the article indicates he is clearly blaming the batsmen here? Personally I blame the batsmen more than our bowlers because of the indiscipline they showed on a batsman's wicket but don't see Swann doing anything other than admit it was a bad defeat. Yes he said that a team who were 267-3 should be going on to score 500 but that's not actually blaming the batsmen

  • JG2704 on August 1, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    @Harsh Joshi on (July 31 2012, 16:05 PM GMT) Actually you're half right but half could not be any more wrong. In tests Eng have been poor since that series but in ODIs they have been undefeated since.

  • jasonpete on August 1, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    Posted by Meety on (August 01 2012, 03:39 AM GMT), I guess subcontinent pitches are dry due to the geographical weather conditions.Their place is very hot,dry and humid unlike some western countries.Its not only India but Pakistan ,srilanka and Bangladesh all have dry spinning tracks.Even if they pay the water bills and pour lot of water in the pitches,due to their dry weather condition ,it's difficult to produce wickets like England and Australia.Game started by England,but now many countries are playing,so it's better for the countries who involved in cricket should learn to play in all kind of pitches like WI and Australia did in the past.

  • Vijay_P_S on August 1, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    I am beginning to enjoy Swann's ramblings.

  • legb4 on August 1, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    As an Aussie i never thought id say it but after reading the commenst on here god i hope the poms spank the indians later this year.

  • Jack_Tka on August 1, 2012, 5:03 GMT

    When the team know their faults and accept it, thats the time they start improving. Atleast English players have now come out of the delusion of #1, which is just a tag. 0-3 against Pak was a warning.They will definitely come back strongly in 2nd test. Lets see if they prove this with a win.

  • Sakthiivel on August 1, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    Cant win at home against SA. Will they win in India. Whitewash will be done soon. waiting for these Brits. another humiliation in India.

  • on August 1, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    WHEN THE BALL ISN'T SWINGING, ENGLAND'S OPENING BOWLERS ARE USELESS. THEY HEARD SOUTH AFRICA WERE COMING, SO THEY RAN TO PREPARE A SLOW SPINNING PITCH FOR SWANNY TO BOWL ON. SO HAPPENED THAT SWAN DID NOT CAPTURE WICKETS, BUT INSTEAD, TAHIR RIPPED THROUGH THEIR BATSMEN.

  • Meety on August 1, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    @m1991vicky - from a technical/historical point of view, given cricket was invented in England, it could be argued reasonably, that cricket was meant to be played on green tops. From that position, you could argue then, that in general sub-continental pitches are not up to scratch. It is interesting that the world's richest board can't pay the water bills so the groundsmen can actually grow a little bit of grass? At least Sri Lankan International pitches offer some encouragement for pacers. Anyways the arguement I just made was food for thought, England as a general rule does not deliberately produces green tops, have a look at the English countryside - it's GREEN! I would be more inclined to say that they'd doctor a pitch if Oz's plethora of pace options lob up next year to find a dustbowl (ala 2009 - yet we still dropped Hauritz - doh!) That WOULD be tough to explain! As for India, Greentops may not be such a scary proposition if you'd just WATER your pitches every now & then!

  • Romenevans on August 1, 2012, 2:49 GMT

    More Humiliation awaits next year in India. ROFLMAO! Fasten your seat belts guys!

  • maddy20 on August 1, 2012, 2:17 GMT

    @JG2704 I have always liked him and a big fan of his tweets, the only English man I follow on twitter. I remember 1 that that made me choke on my food . It goes something like "Wife shopping on Ipad for past 2 hours. Spent the time wisely staring at the wall!". I have always believed that the first step to correcting the mistake is honest admission and self-criticism(constructive) and thats what I meant when I made my last statement.

  • MattyP1979 on August 1, 2012, 1:50 GMT

    @m1991vicky. Once again I have to agree with nothing you have posted. Tell me which member of our team was in the Eng side 25 years ago pls. As for teams not preparing strips that suit them have you ever watched cricket? Every team goes to Ind with at least 2 spinners. And you never answered the question, do you think Eng will be beaten the way Ind were?

  • bantersaurus on August 1, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    Not sure The Oval was as much as a public embarrassment as getting rolled for 51 against the West Indies in 2009. At least at the Oval they were rolled by Dale Steyn in the 2nd innings instead of Jerome Taylor

  • Meety on August 1, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    Spewing my first comment didn't get posted! Here goes again! This article is what I love about Swann. People can debate all they like whether as a spinner he is a) A hack, b) Journeymen, c) Useful, d) Good, e) Very Good or f) Great (my money is on E with a chance of F, but what CANNOT be denied, is that he is the most interesting cricketer of the modern generation! The comment about the size 10 boots - priceless, he really does call a spade a (insert adjective here) shovel!

  • bantersaurus on August 1, 2012, 0:17 GMT

    I'm not sure what this article has to do with India but if we are going down that path then @m1991vicky that is a horrendous call. The true test of any sportsman is to do well away from home, away from your preferred conditions, away from your support networks and out of your comfort zones. India will never be taken seriously in test cricket if they keep getting smashed away from home they way they have against us and England.

  • disco_bob on July 31, 2012, 23:01 GMT

    "I think that prompted that meeting afterwards and prompted a lot of honesty and people saying that's not going to happen again." This is a curious statement from Swann. Saying that "it's not going to happen again" is not being honest, it's just empty rhetoric. In fact calling that statement 'honest' is itself dishonest. And honest statement would be "we obviously learned nothing from our 3-0 humiliation and I hope that we damn well learn something from this."

  • m1991vicky on July 31, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    @MattyP1979: India can surely beat England 4-0 at home if we tailor the pitches to our strengths, which I doubt India will do that because we are not afraid of opponents at home, just the opposite of which is England who prepare green tops. But I doubt if England could hardly manage atleast a test match win on Indian soil. Remember I am talking about a match, not a series.... They have done it only once in the past 25 yrs!!!!What a great team!!!!

  • DeepakDixit on July 31, 2012, 22:47 GMT

    In last 10 years India won 22 ODIs against England while lost 10,,,,,,,please be unbias while commenting

  • DeepakDixit on July 31, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    In the Era of great Australian dominance(2000s), India was the only team to challenge them Won 9 , Lost 10 ( out of which 4 have come in last series). before world cup it was 9/6 for India

    England also managed to win 9 but lost 16

    SA won 5 and lost 14

  • Hello13 on July 31, 2012, 22:41 GMT

    jb63- Indeed, just like you had so much heart when you came to India last year. remember that?

  • DeepakDixit on July 31, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    TEST Matches last 10 years WIN/Loss ratio by teams ( away or neutral venues)

    AUS ----2.38-----Champs of last decade by a far distance SA------1.42-----Best touring side after Aus Ind-----0.95----through rough patch before Eng series ratio was 1.54 Eng----0.75----pretty average touring side Pak----0.67---Can be a better tourist SL----0.57---poor tourist

    yes i am talking of TEST matches for a good span of 10 years that too away from home...Cricinfo please publish

  • Nerk on July 31, 2012, 22:26 GMT

    We'll have to see what happens in the next test people. Number one in the world doesn't mean much at the moment as there is no team that genuinely dominates. India played well for a few years, both at home and abroad, but fell away sharply. England played well at home, won a few series overseas. South Africa thrashed England in the first test and on paper are the best team in the world, but have failed to beat any of the other top teams at home for a long time. Australia is not really in contention yet, though write them off at your peril. Pakistan aint bad either, but need more test matches to prove themselves. In other words, the title of number one is in limbo.

  • Nutcutlet on July 31, 2012, 21:18 GMT

    @AdrianVanDenStael: Neat point. It made me smile:)! Our Swanny always has lots to say for (& about) himself and if you study the transcripts of all that he says & tweets you will probably find that he is a mass of contradictions - which makes him like the rest of us - very human! Overall, despite the irritation factor, I find him generally engaging and on balance I'd rather have a man willing to express his views & opinions, often quite vividly. On a more serious note, and something that should concern all England fans, is that he seems to be losing his potency as a wicket-taker & is not containing batsmen to about 2.5 rpo as he did.Currently, he seems to occupy that grey area between actually unfit and just OK to play. He is so integral to the England team - and something of a talisman too - that there must be many fingers crossed in the England camp ATM. The return of Panesar is too risky v SA -and I'm just wondering if James Tredwell is going through his warming up routine. Hmm

  • yorkshirematt on July 31, 2012, 21:16 GMT

    And here we go again. Yet another comments section descends into the usual chirping from all sides about who is better between South Africa, England, India and Australia.

  • Nutcutlet on July 31, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    @CaptMeanster: I take your points about the Indian press and of course I am not saying anything at all against the Indian players. The more mature ones do indeed seem to be very decent human beings (I am a huge Dravid fan - he is everything I think a cricketer should be, on & off the field & have said so here many times) and some of the young firebrands will calm down in time as one or two Englishmen whose behaviour was not all that I would have hoped for or wished, seem to have done. (I think we can all supply the names in both cases!) It is so important for high profile cricketers everywhere to behave in such a way that credits the game, rather than lowers it to a level seen by too many over-paid footballers, for example. You know me well enough by now to know that I am 'old school' and for me the game comes before narrow nationalism & I would rather see a great game, even if England loses, than a walkover England victory. In the end, it's how the game is played that matters most.

  • landl47 on July 31, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    Honesty is one thing, doing something is another. I can honestly say that I know how to hook a bouncer from Morkel for 6, but I couldn't actually do it. I hope England's honesty has turned into a plan that will help them cope better with SA. It has to start with picking the right sida- Finn must be in. Then the captain being more aggressive would help, the bowlers putting a bit more effort in, the batsmen showing more positive intent- the list goes on. Basically, it comes down to this: England has to play better. How's that for honesty?

  • Hello13 on July 31, 2012, 20:40 GMT

    A vacant slip- thats wrong, we played west indies in between england and australia

  • Lovedegame on July 31, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    I'll tell you cricket fans something.. let it be Eng, South Africa or India as loong as the #1 position is a merry go round i am happy as loong as its not Australia siting there for for a decade

  • jb633 on July 31, 2012, 20:36 GMT

    And again here people are talking about India. This is an England vs SA thread and therefore the hidings India received have absolutley zero relavence to this. Yes we understand that this SA is an extremley tough nut to crack and we should not look into our 4-0 drubbing of India, as I could have found club u12's side with more heart.

  • JG2704 on July 31, 2012, 20:33 GMT

    To me Swann's comms against a 5 man bowling attack seems to indicate that we're going 6/1/4 as usual. I was hoping that a few rumours that they would be going 5/1/5 were true. It really is exasperating when our number 6 might as well not have bothered playing in the last few years and we have Finn and Onions who can't get in the side. TBH if we play 6/1/4 again we deserve all we get.

  • Lmaotsetung on July 31, 2012, 20:30 GMT

    @ screamingeagle - ahem! Current shortest #1 is held by none other than this very same SA team and won't be broken anytime soon...nice try though.

  • JG2704 on July 31, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster -All it proves from England's point of view is that for some reason they've declined since becoming number 1. We played good enough cricket to become number 1. England were awful against an inspired SA at home but does one test make a bad home side ? As for India , who have they actually played at home since their away days in Eng and Aus? Is it WI where they won the series by a solitary test? - hardly a yardstick to prove they are still unbeatable at home. And re "India's heart lies in ODI and T20 cricket in which they are very powerful" - They are powerful in T20s , are you sure?

  • JG2704 on July 31, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    IndnCrktfan on (July 31 2012, 15:08 PM GMT) I don't know why Eng have gone to pot. It's really strange. India seems to have been turning points for England in both formats. In tests we won 4-0 and looked awesome and since have by and large been poor and since our 5-0 defeat in ODIs when we seemed to hit rock bottom we have been unbeaten. Strange game this cricket

  • A_Vacant_Slip on July 31, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    @bigdhonifan. India in Tests July 2011 - July 2012 Played 8 Lost 8. @Cpt.Meanster - So India are "very powerful" in T20 are they? That 8th position in the T20 ranking, just ahead of Ireland and Afganhistan is looking like a very powerful situation for India. All world will tremble.....!

  • MattyP1979 on July 31, 2012, 19:46 GMT

    Its seems clear alot of people would cheer on anybody but Eng. SA aside the rest of your teams are woeful at best. IND/AUS fans putting ten pence in themselves should really look to their own teams if they want to lambast performances. Eng dispite a poor run are still a very good side. We are losing to a team that is also a very good side (it happens). We still are no.1, holder of the ashes and beat IND 4-0 (if you want to see thrashings). Ind fans do u think you are going to beat us 4-0 and 3 by an innings? Aussies think your getting the urn back with your side? Or are all these posts a chance for you to forget your own teams?

  • Lovedegame on July 31, 2012, 19:23 GMT

    I have no doubt England will fight back... Obviously since they are playing at home they have too.. Why does everyone start talking about India... Yes India lost 8 in 8 continuous but we dint have any of our bowlers there (Dhoni bowling) and Sehwag and Gautam injured in the latter part of the series.. Please do not forget most of the men in that team had just won the World Cup which England has never done even though they invented the game (ridiculous right?) If this England team comes to India , with our full strength team they are going to get humiliated like we did there no doubt. I suggest You prove you are even worthy of coming to India by first beating the Africanas at hom. All i remember is before Eng beat Aussies in the Ashes they were as good as New Zealand for a decade since Nasser Hussain retired

  • AdrianVanDenStael on July 31, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    @SuperSaj: England won a test series in Asia in 2010. I suppose you aren't counting that because it was against Bangladesh, but you don't make that clear.

  • AdrianVanDenStael on July 31, 2012, 18:55 GMT

    @Nutcutlet: Swann says, and I quote "for me if a game goes like that I just pretend it never happened". That sounds pretty close to "a position of denial".

  • screamingeagle on July 31, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    Another record. Shortest No.1?

  • sk12 on July 31, 2012, 18:34 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster - the #1 rank only means that the team is better than the rest. we cant conclude that the team is a real dominant force. While SA is very competetive away, they were not so much at home (even had a series loss, against Oz). While being #1, both Eng and India were pretty competitve away and were a real force at home. And if SA wins the 2nd test, they WILL become #1. The ranking system does make sense, we cant see its utility as there is no 1 dominating team like the Oz in 2000s and WI 80s.

  • bigdhonifan on July 31, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    england in tests 2012..9 played 5 LOST

  • tinkertinker on July 31, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    Yeah yeah pressan, just ignore that south africa haven't beaten a top 4 ranked team since 2008...maybe thats why they aren't number 1

    They aren't much different to england, a talented but still flawed team.

  • Hello13 on July 31, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    Nutcutlet- ah yes, the fair minded English fans who roundly booed India for running out Ian Bell, who deserved to be and technically was run out. I have no idea why we called him back, the English never show sportsmanship, why should we

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 31, 2012, 17:36 GMT

    @Nutcutlet: I do agree with you about the attitude of the Indian players last year. But in all honesty, the Indian media didn't do our players any good by insulting their very integrity. So direct your blame towards the Indian press as well. India have always been a shaky touring side and will continue to be so until they learn to play well in swinging and seaming conditions. But it's also clear that they don't care much about test cricket though they would deny it. India's heart lies in ODI and T20 cricket in which they are very powerful. I am personally not a test cricket fan but would watch it anyway because it's still a game of bat and ball. There is so much expectation from Indians towards the team that it's a sin to even lose a game. I guess that rubbed on the team as well last year when they refused to believe they were poor performers. But as individuals, Indian cricketers are wonderful human beings. I hope you agree with that.

  • bvnathan on July 31, 2012, 17:30 GMT

    Swann should have been more honest in the assessment - ENGLAND TEAM PERFORMANCE WAS PATHETIC @OVAL!!! Only one team did show up in the entire match - South Africa

  • phoenixsteve on July 31, 2012, 17:28 GMT

    As a long time England supporter I am perplexed at all these comments and people lining up to insult the England team. They have played some good cricket and maybe about to lose the number 1 ranking. So what? What most overseas pundits don't understand is the value of Ashes wins! We'll accept defeat and cheefully slump in the meaningless rankings as long as we can keep those darned Aussies away from the urn! Maybe India and Pakistan should burn a token chapati and play for what's left? Maybe then sub--continent cricket will understand it a bit more? It's not that long ago when India/Pakistan/SriLanka were regarded as joke opposition but the fans of these new boys of test cricket seem to think it's all about them! We don't care about sub-continent flat tracks just keep us beating the Aussies! Cricket in New Zealand, OZ and SA is worth watching! In the past you could include the marvelous Windies too...... COME ON ENGLAND!!! (Ashes champs)

  • on July 31, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    England getting humiliated in India or UAE can be understood that they can NOT play spin bowling too well. But what happened against SA in your own backyard ? U indeed got HUMILIATED.

  • 2.14istherunrate on July 31, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    @hello- Maybe our supporters can read!!!

  • the_blue_android on July 31, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    He's clearly blaming English batsmen here. What were your bowlign figures again Swanny? 75 overs for 160 runs with no wickets or something? And your coach compared you to Warne..LOL. Wait till you kids get to India.

  • kaidranzer on July 31, 2012, 16:53 GMT

    @ Front-Foot-Lunge: Winning tests at home is not "dominating" Test cricket. By that logic, India has been dominating Test cricket for 10 years. And everyone knows that's not true.

  • Nutcutlet on July 31, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    The first step to recognising a problem is to admit you have one, and then address it. This is what the touring Indian Test team singularly failed to do last year - they lived in position of denial until it became a matter of scratching round for excuses - and frankly, my dear Indian friends, that did the reputation of your cricketers no good at all, even in a fair-minded country like England. All that is history, however. England, with Swann as (self- appointed?) spokesman has made it clear that the team, individually & collectively have admitted to a shocker at the Oval & are determined to put matters right at Headingley. And I am sure that England will put up a better performance, but that does not disguise the obvious - that SA is a very fine side with too many guns for England. If England do not pick Finn, then they are not presenting SA with anything different. Eng's best hope is for overcast conditions on days when they are in the field, and sunshine when batting!

  • SoulTaker on July 31, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    @mrmonty: lol...good one buddy..

  • Rahulbose on July 31, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    This side really had a one great Ashes tour and a good season (mostly played at home). But since it was against top opposition and they ended up at No 1, everyone started building up this team. And they seem to have bought their own hype. This series is at home so they can bounce back, but it should be clear that this squad is not as great as the media would have you believe.

  • Pressan on July 31, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    South Africa Have been the BEST side in world cricket since 2008!! #FACT theres no denying it they the only side outside the subcontinent to compete in the subcontinent! #Fact! They beat Australia at home when they where still great! They beat England at home , drew with India in india same with pakistan! SA Have done it all in terms of different conditions and performing everywhere!! The only reason SA arent the #1 ranked team in the world is ONLY because other teams for instance england n australia have played 11 and 20 more matches!!

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 31, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    Well.. all this proves one thing - the fact the test ranking system is a big fat JOKE ! Neither England nor India deserve genuine a no.1 test ranking. A team who think they are worthy of that tag should win in every conditions, every country etc on a consistent basis. India and England are both good at home but the difference being, England are vulnerable even at home when the conditions don't favour them. They are poor overseas no doubt. Only SA look good everywhere. The are the only country with a good record in Asian conditions as well as at home. So if they do become no.1, I would be pleased. However, the ICC needs to take a good look at the ranking system and do something to make the world test championship a reality.

  • phoenixsteve on July 31, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    England surely have problems and it's hard to see them coming back in this series. South Africa were magnificent and made England's poor show look even more shambolic? Do the England batters have the fight and the technique to make South Africa toil? Several of them are due but they need to apply themselves and cut out the hight risk shots (sweeps) when the game dictates survival. They were never going to win the game when they got a chance to bat a second time and so these shots of Strauss and Prior were criminal! Pieterson looked like he was out of his class, Bell did OK and Ravi was.... well Ravi! I still think he deserves a longer run though and defeat at Headingly (a distinct possibility) may bring about some changes including leadership? Onions and Finn in and Bresnan out - play 5 bowlers and back your batters to score 500! If this can't be done you have to put a brave face on it and hail the new top team. Meaningless bragging rights title that it is........COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • on July 31, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    England team players (mixture of Eng-Ind-Saf) should win now not the South africans.

  • on July 31, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    If Oval was a public humiliation then England got innumerable humiliations in last 25 years....they are playing average cricket since 0-5 thrashing against Indians last year !

  • Amar_bw on July 31, 2012, 16:01 GMT

    Harbhajan must be thinking, see this happens to any spinner, even to the world's leading spinner at their home ground!

  • djdrastic on July 31, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    @Front Foot Lunge . I hope you guys dominate the 2nd test as well . You did a great job at dominating the first test haha.

  • mrmonty on July 31, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    So, UAE wasn't a public humiliation! A 3-0 whitewash! The only public that count must be the English public then.

  • Peterincanada on July 31, 2012, 15:33 GMT

    The tale about England taking twenty wickets despite not winning is somewhat spurious. In three of those losses they bowled out Pakistan who are, and have been for some time, a very weak batting side. The pace bowlers and Ajmal have for the most part carried the team. Bowing them out twice is no great feat.

    The so-called rankings can also be strange. I remember right after Oz beat S.A. 3-0 in 2001-02 in Oz, They had to beat SA in SA else they would drop below SA in the rankings, even if all the games were washed out. Also, if memory serves, at one point Graeme Hick was ranked above Allan Border as a batsman.

  • on July 31, 2012, 15:33 GMT

    swann shud be rested now infact most of the players shud get a rest given a long season and a longer one waiting 4 them. panesar shud play instead of swann and onions instead of bresnan.james taylor looks bright and owais shah could get another look in.

  • drnaveed on July 31, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    yes england doesn't seems to have faith in their batting. they should bring in finn and onions for bresnan and broad or swann if they want to win against SA.

  • amitesh4u on July 31, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    It really feels bad nd evn worse vn the world nmbr 1 team looses so badly nd also in one of the worst circumstances as this......

  • StatisticsRocks on July 31, 2012, 15:08 GMT

    @JG: I agree with you that thinking abt #1 does not cause them to lose. But since their defeat in the first test match all the ENG players are talking abt is their #1 ranking including Jimmy, Bell, Swan and others. What I am trying to say they r thinking way too much abt staying at top than playing like a #1 ranked team, like you said as well. It seems to me that they have already given up on the series, when there are still 2 matches to go.

  • m1991vicky on July 31, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    @Front-foot-lunge: "Dominating test cricket for the past three years!!!!", No side has done that in the past three years...England has not managed to win a single test series in the subcontinent.... They won only in Australia of the top test nations.....How could u tell that they dominated the world??????

  • the_wallster on July 31, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    Amazing. At least the present #1 team are being honest. England have been awful since they've been #1. However, when the likes of India were getting trounced last year it was blamed on pitches, DRS and anyone but themselves.

  • jezzastyles on July 31, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    We'll see what effect, if any, the "honest meeting" has on the side in a couple of days - did it play a part in Bopara's not being available? These things sound good on paper, but isn't the role of a frank assessment/appraisal ultimately up to the selectors? Can England bounce back from one of the most one-sided tests in recent memory - of course they can, but they'll need to play 5 full days of high-quality cricket, hold their catches, and put pressure on SA - they can't afford any sessions where they are just going through the motions, nor can they succumb to Steyn & co. Good luck to both sides - may the best team win.

  • joseyesu on July 31, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    Eng were little better when Morgan was there and now a little shaky in their batting order. I would prefer Finn instead of Bresnan. Presently SA seems more aggressive with Steyn, Morkel and solid with Amla and Kallis. Let's see.

  • Hello13 on July 31, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    English cricketers release more autobiographies than anyone. THey like the sound of their own voice way too much

  • Hello13 on July 31, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    Its funny how their self worth is so tied to the ranking. They should be more worried about finding 11 ENglish players

  • Perplexed on July 31, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    The outcome of this series is very predictable based on what the teams are saying. South Africa are speaking with confidence, but not complacency, while the English are very negative in what they say, i.e. their mind-set is already a losing mind-set. Sport psychology 101, I thought the brains trust on the England side would be aware of these thingsā€¦

  • 2.14istherunrate on July 31, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    The teams swapped 'energies' going into day2. Perplexity and head scratching are probably the only realistic reactions.They just have to'get on the horse again', forget about doing anything differently from 2011 and before. After all they have to win this game or the series win is gone.

  • StaalBurgher on July 31, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    Seems to me England have no faith in their batting. Why else would they play Bresnan ahead of either Finn or Onions?

  • JG2704 on July 31, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    @Posted by jagatr on (July 31 2012, 13:24 PM GMT) Or indeed the team to draw against - unless of course you are in the lower tier of the table

  • JG2704 on July 31, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    @IndnCrktfan on (July 31 2012, 12:47 PM GMT) It's not talking about the ranking which has led to our downfall. It's the fact that they've not played like the team which got them to number 1. Talking doesn't = leading to a downfall. Australia weren't exactly shy when they were 1 and it never affected their performances Preparing or playing badly etc does

  • JG2704 on July 31, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    @maddy20 on (July 31 2012, 12:26 PM GMT) re "This is what makes people like this guy" - what you mean he is liked? I'd hate to see the comms on here if he wasn't liked

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on July 31, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    The jealousy and envy of England by fans of the teams they've consigned to the middle of the rankings know's no bounds. What England fans like myself have particularly enjoyed, is observing just so much of the envy they generate, a sure sign of the hurt they've caused by dominating test cricket for over three years.

  • jagatr on July 31, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    The #1 spot for England was always a joke - even the undeserving Indian team did better. I dont care what the rankings say...SA has been THE team to beat over the last 3 years. They are #1.

  • satish619chandar on July 31, 2012, 12:55 GMT

    England look fired up.. Everyone using the press conference for pep up talk and about the last performance.. I think it is good for them to be in a revenge frame of mind.. At the same time, they might be adding more pressure on themselves too.. Anyway, engrossing game ahead..

  • moloko on July 31, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    they only took two wickets in 189 overs, i would certainly be worried if i was england. the proteas should win comfortably in headingly they should not change anything from how they performed at the oval.

  • StatisticsRocks on July 31, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    The curse of being #1. All this ENG team can think of is their #1 ranking which has led them to their downfall. It's kind of gotten to them. Forget the ranking and play like you are capable of, and you will see different results.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 31, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    It will make an interesting chapter in his new book I guess...

  • jb633 on July 31, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    In all fairness, I am delighted to hear Swanny come out with such an honest assesment. I agree that a kick up the backside was probably needed. In all but one test matches this summer we have squandered excellent starts with the bat and finished with a score well below what it should have been. Against the WI, it was not exploited but against the quality SA side it came back to haunt us. Altough many of my fellow fans have stated that the bowlers are almost impervius to criticism, I disagree. Earlier this summer I felt we looked pedestrian, and only threatning when the ball was conventionally swinging. Despite Broad's stats against the WI his pace remained a concern to me. Against SA, it was clear for all to see that we needed him to step it up or all of our attack just looked like trundlers. I hope the stern chat will have adressed this issue and that he bowls shorter and more menancing spells, with Bes used as the stock bowler.

  • maddy20 on July 31, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    A very honest admission. This is what makes people like this guy. He doesn't mince his words. Wish Dhoni & Co learn some of this!

  • Brumby90 on July 31, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    You might have been ordinary because you are just an average side. The only reason England got to No1 was because better sides have really fallen in standards back to where england was

  • on July 31, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    Good Article.....have to do something serious to stop the next..Rahul Dravid...in Hashim Amla......

  • Beertjie on July 31, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    Swann is just plain wrong to reason that "because what we have done, even through the period of fairly poor results, we have still bowled well as a unit and bowled teams out twice" England will bowl SA out twice (unless overhead conditions can be manipulated to favour only England!). When there is a lull Finn could strike if used as Steyn is, while Onions' skiddy pace together with Anderson and Bresnan (or Broad) would form a good unit to bowl SA out twice. How much would the debutant Taylor contribute in contrast to that lot? But England want to give the impression of not panicking! What will they do when they're 2-0 down?

  • v_singh on July 31, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    Dear Mr. Swann... No need to feel bad.. Its the "curse of the # 1" :)... [Folks : plz. do not just jump in to criticize me bcos I am an Indian and our team has been playing poorly in Tests for some time now ~ we had a very very poor 6 months, with major bowlers down due to injuries during English series; no excuses for Australian debacle however :) ]. There was a time when somebody used to beat the Aussies (in tests) and it felt great (bcos. Aussies were supposed to win most of the time). With this English team, that feeling does not come. However, I am sure 2nd match would be a more even contest and England can even win if they chose Bresnan as all-rounder and pick up Finn instead of Taylor.

  • SuperSaj on July 31, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    England are not a great team and that is the simple truth. They are a good-very good bowling team but merely a good batting (when factoring in all conditions) and this is expressed through their batting and bowling averages as well as the vast difference between their home and away records (particulalry in Asia where they have not won a series in over a decade).

  • sharj33l on July 31, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    yes it will be difficult for England to come back.... SA is a better side in both batting and bowling but i do admit that swan better than imran tahir that could be a major difference

  • anuradha_d on July 31, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    why does he(Swann) talk so much ?.....why are England so hung up over ranking...when it is clear that their ranking is siutaional and interim and by no means a confirnation thta they are the best tem in the world

  • Highflyer_GP on July 31, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    Yet another instance of an English player harping on about the #1 ranking.

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  • Highflyer_GP on July 31, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    Yet another instance of an English player harping on about the #1 ranking.

  • anuradha_d on July 31, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    why does he(Swann) talk so much ?.....why are England so hung up over ranking...when it is clear that their ranking is siutaional and interim and by no means a confirnation thta they are the best tem in the world

  • sharj33l on July 31, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    yes it will be difficult for England to come back.... SA is a better side in both batting and bowling but i do admit that swan better than imran tahir that could be a major difference

  • SuperSaj on July 31, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    England are not a great team and that is the simple truth. They are a good-very good bowling team but merely a good batting (when factoring in all conditions) and this is expressed through their batting and bowling averages as well as the vast difference between their home and away records (particulalry in Asia where they have not won a series in over a decade).

  • v_singh on July 31, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    Dear Mr. Swann... No need to feel bad.. Its the "curse of the # 1" :)... [Folks : plz. do not just jump in to criticize me bcos I am an Indian and our team has been playing poorly in Tests for some time now ~ we had a very very poor 6 months, with major bowlers down due to injuries during English series; no excuses for Australian debacle however :) ]. There was a time when somebody used to beat the Aussies (in tests) and it felt great (bcos. Aussies were supposed to win most of the time). With this English team, that feeling does not come. However, I am sure 2nd match would be a more even contest and England can even win if they chose Bresnan as all-rounder and pick up Finn instead of Taylor.

  • Beertjie on July 31, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    Swann is just plain wrong to reason that "because what we have done, even through the period of fairly poor results, we have still bowled well as a unit and bowled teams out twice" England will bowl SA out twice (unless overhead conditions can be manipulated to favour only England!). When there is a lull Finn could strike if used as Steyn is, while Onions' skiddy pace together with Anderson and Bresnan (or Broad) would form a good unit to bowl SA out twice. How much would the debutant Taylor contribute in contrast to that lot? But England want to give the impression of not panicking! What will they do when they're 2-0 down?

  • on July 31, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    Good Article.....have to do something serious to stop the next..Rahul Dravid...in Hashim Amla......

  • Brumby90 on July 31, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    You might have been ordinary because you are just an average side. The only reason England got to No1 was because better sides have really fallen in standards back to where england was

  • maddy20 on July 31, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    A very honest admission. This is what makes people like this guy. He doesn't mince his words. Wish Dhoni & Co learn some of this!

  • jb633 on July 31, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    In all fairness, I am delighted to hear Swanny come out with such an honest assesment. I agree that a kick up the backside was probably needed. In all but one test matches this summer we have squandered excellent starts with the bat and finished with a score well below what it should have been. Against the WI, it was not exploited but against the quality SA side it came back to haunt us. Altough many of my fellow fans have stated that the bowlers are almost impervius to criticism, I disagree. Earlier this summer I felt we looked pedestrian, and only threatning when the ball was conventionally swinging. Despite Broad's stats against the WI his pace remained a concern to me. Against SA, it was clear for all to see that we needed him to step it up or all of our attack just looked like trundlers. I hope the stern chat will have adressed this issue and that he bowls shorter and more menancing spells, with Bes used as the stock bowler.