Sri Lanka v England 2011-12 March 18, 2012

Swann unconcerned by competition from Panesar

ESPNcricinfo staff

Graeme Swann has said he is not worried about the threat to his place in the England side from Monty Panesar, suggesting with his usual flair for a colourful quote that only a "fairly sad individual" would be perturbed by the good performances of a team-mate.

Swann remains England's first-choice spinner, perhaps as much for his all-round ability and dressing-room presence as his bowling, but has been overshadowed by Panesar after the left-armer's ebullient return to international cricket. Panesar claimed 14 wickets in two Tests against Pakistan in the UAE and continued that good form with 6 for 69 in England's first warm-up match in Sri Lanka.

Swann claimed three wickets in the same game and is likely to continue his spin partnership with Panesar in the two-Test series against Sri Lanka but he accepted, with England likely to only play one spinner at home, he will not retain his place by default.

Asked if he was bothered by the competition, Swann said: "I'm not. I think it's quite a sad existence when people start looking over their shoulders. I always enjoy bowling with Monty and we complement each other quite well because I take it in [to the right-hand batsman] and he takes it away.

"If in the summer Monty is bowling better than me and he gets picked then fair play to him. Of course I'll be hoping to be the man in possession but if you spend your whole life just looking over your shoulder I think you're a fairly sad individual. Monty is bowling beautifully at the moment and that bodes well because we need two spinners over here. If we're both bowling well we can hopefully bowl England to some victories."

England were comprehensive winners against a Sri Lanka Board XI, with the bowlers adapting quickly to the conditions - though Swann admitted the temperature was not to his liking.

"Confidence is sky high," Swann said. "I thought I bowled quite well in the warm-up match. At this point in a tour it's all about how the ball feels coming out of your hand and it was coming out great. I'm just getting used to the heat at the moment. It was too hot for me yesterday and too hot for me the day before. Hopefully when the Tests start in a couple of weeks I'll be ready to go."

England head into the Test series on the back of a 3-0 whitewash by Pakistan that raised question marks about their status as the No. 1 Test side. Another defeat would likely see them overtaken by South Africa, but Swann, who claimed 13 wickets himself against Pakistan, said he hoped Andrew Strauss' team will be able to put their experiences in the UAE to good use on the subcontinent.

"With the heat and conditions here, it's really brought home how hard it will be for us in the Test series," Swann said. "It was pleasing to win the first game and now it's onwards and upwards. We hope to have learned from the mistakes we made in the Pakistan series and put that to bed.

"Sri Lanka are a fairly similar animal and they have exceptional batting, probably more consistent than Pakistan. They'll be hard to bowl out and it will be a real war of attrition for us."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on March 20, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    @ Abdel Mohammed on (March 20 2012, 12:15 PM GMT) I kind of agree with part of your post re extended runs etc , but up until last year Swann was definitely our premier spinner.It was only last May when we would not have won a test vs SL had it not been for Swann's 2nd inns heroics - against the odds timewise too I might add. Obviously Monty is putting Swann under pressure at the moment as Monty is bowling beautifully while Swann - despite the odd moment - is not bowling as well as he did a year or so ago. However Swann had a bad OD tour of India and Monty wasn't about the squad then.

  • John on March 20, 2012, 23:10 GMT

    @satish619chandar - I think I'd have had Finn in instead of Bres and Patel instead of Bopara/Bell but I'd settle for your team above the one they are likely to pick and I suppose Bres is also more capable than Finn with the bat so it is more of a compromise.

  • Satish on March 20, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    Still its a bit early to say Panesar is better than Swann.. Even in this slightly out of form state, Swann was at his best against lefties though he is not able to replicate the same against right hand batsmen.. Still i wouldn't write him off as he did prove to be a good option for a couple of years.. Best option for England could be to use Bresnan as third seamer and have 5 bowlers.. Cook, Strauss, Trott, KP, Bell/Bopara, Prior, Bresnan, Swann, Broad, Anderson, Panesar.. One big advantage they have is, a tired and underprepared SL as opponents.. I say underprepared as they are continuously playing ODI format from SA.. England have a upper hand as of now before the match starts..

  • Dummy4 on March 20, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    Panesar who was ditched too quickly by England is proving that they were wrong,it appears that England expects too much from"certain players" while some are given extended runs.There is no doubt that Panesar's success recently is affecting Swann,its not an easy life having to constantly look behind to see who is behind.

  • Suss on March 20, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    Swann 0/97 in (20ovs), The worlds best spinner according to english fans. Overrated spin bowler, who cannot pick up wickets in the most spin friendly ground in Sri lanka. I wonder if he'd be happy for panesar if he gets left out of the team in place for panesar. It seems England can only pick up wickets with the new ball, Good Luck England.

  • Dummy4 on March 20, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    Swann should focus on his cricket and competition from a better spineer in Monty rather than mouthing off about umpire decissions hand having a go at opposition players.

    We saw how honest he was when he claimed a Pakistan wicket and showed his ways by winking and a snide smile.

    It is for the umpires to give the decission and not the batsman. Swann was out of order to have a go at Dilruwan when he was given not out.

  • Chatty on March 20, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    Swann unconcerned by competition from Panesar: Give me a break. The guy would rather Panesar did not exist. It is clear from the barely disguised anger he seems to have, both on and off the ground.

  • John on March 20, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    @zenboomerang on (March 20 2012, 07:51 AM GMT) - again I think you are right. Fans - possibly myself included - are quick to change opinions. And your comparison between Bell and Swann I think echoes mine. The difference is - to me - Swann looks much more likely to take 5 wkts than Bell is to score a 100 - even a 50. It is probably wrong of me to not trust Bopara or Patel (I trust Bopara less and Patel is unproven) and It's not so bad carrying one batsmen who is struggling but when it's 2 or 3 or more then it becomes a huge problem.

  • Roo on March 20, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    @JG2704... Seems the critics jump from "great" to "failures" over a very short period of time... Swann like Bell has gone through a few hoops in the last 12 mths - but it is way short of being in poor form... He's just as likely to get a 5-for this series as not, but much will have to do with the pitches prepared - time will tell... Again it will be the batsmen that can win or lose this series - without runs to defend on SL pitches the game can swing quickly, especially with the SL batsmen being able to "turn it on" when needed... Tight bowling will be the key in hot humid conditions - keeping your cool is essential...

  • Roo on March 20, 2012, 7:49 GMT

    @bouncy pitch... @justtogood... All good bowlers - but young?... 17-21 is young / 23-27 developed / 29+ mature bowler - you could allow some overlap due to different maturing rates... Pattinson (21) is still a young bowler that has done well so far (& a reasonable batter) - time will tell... I for one don't like to put too much expectation on younger bowlers & prefer they develop fully before ever giving them a "great" tag - from which there is only one direction to go...

  • No featured comments at the moment.