Australia v England, 4th ODI, Adelaide January 25, 2011

Injury problems send Graeme Swann home


Graeme Swann has been forced out of the one-day series against Australia by injury as England's casualty list continues to grow. He picked up a knee problem during the first Twenty20 and has now suffered a back strain and will be returning to the UK to recover for next month's World Cup.

Swann played the second T20 and first one-day international in Melbourne but has missed the last two matches. It had been hoped he would be able to take part towards the end of the series, but a back spasm a couple of days ago added to his problems, leaving England another key bowler short as they aim to bounce back from 3-0 down.

"It's frustrating to return home from the tour early but the priority for me now is the World Cup and getting my body right so that I am able to play an important role for England throughout the tournament," Swann said. "I will be following the rest of the series and hope to see England put in some positive performances over the next fortnight. I've had the time of my life over here and bringing back the Ashes is something that will always stay with me."

Andy Flower, the England team director, said Swann would be taking the earliest flight home. "He's unfortunately got a strain in his lower back and that allied with his knee problem means it's best for him to go home and get ready for the World Cup now," Flower said.

It leaves England with Michael Yardy and James Tredwell to fill the spin roles for the remainder of the series but neither offer the attacking option of Swann and his absence has been felt during the middle overs.

"It's a big blow, he's an important part of our side," Flower said. "He's a world-class performer and full of confidence after the Ashes. But these things happen, we are coming towards the end of a long, hard tour and certainly the physical challenges are starting to take their toll."

Swann is the second player to fly home from the one-day series after Tim Bresnan picked up a calf strain in Hobart. England have not been able to field their first-choice attack at any stage in the limited-overs games due to Stuart Broad's absence and James Anderson being rested. Anderson, though, is available for the Adelaide match on Wednesday and will provide valuable experience as England aim to stay in the series.

Flower, meanwhile, has looked upon the loss of his main bowlers as a valuable chance to give experience to some younger and less experienced one-day players. One of the topics Flower has often mentioned is the need to have more than just a first eleven that is good enough because of the demanding international schedules.

"One of the areas I've been really happy with on this tour is the fact that some of our fringe players have come in and done very well," he said. "People like Bresnan in the Tests who did superbly, Tremlett the same. These guys stepped into the breach and I think we've seen Shahzad grow in the first three limited-overs games.

"I think they are great opportunities for some of our fringe players now. With the schedules we are given we are going to need a squad in which we can certainly rotate fast bowlers, because they are the ones at greatest risk of injury."

England's major issue has been a lack of consistency from the batsmen although Kevin Pietersen is fit again which will provide some extra power to the middle order. His replacement in Sydney, Paul Collingwood, continued to struggle with 1 and Flower admitted he was concerned but hinted at retaining him.

"Yes, of course we are. And he is," Flower said. "But we need him to be in form for the World Cup and again there's a good opportunity tomorrow for him to get that form."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • si on January 26, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    ....can you take Pietersen back to Surrey when you go!!!

  • Martin on January 26, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    If you're right @Something_Witty - then Australia with it's average batting line up (Ponting, Clarke, Smith....etc) hasn't got a hope in hell. You'd better hope that you are wrong. Pass the salt again please.

  • Dummy4 on January 26, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    @landl47 Pakistan having fast pitches is nonsense.The only good thing they do their is to leave some grass and few wickets tumble in the first session and then it becomes a road.You have to see that 313 innings by Younis Khan to see what I mean.Their pitches in the ODI tournaments are as bad as in India.

  • Rohanj on January 26, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    If India or Pakistan manage to win the WC, it won't be because of a fleet of spinners. This is being played up far too much, perhaps by subcontinent supporters or hopeful Poms. Stats in the last 10 years are great but this is a WC, so look at the stats from the two WC held on the subcontinent. The first, in white clothes with a red ball, were all day games and spinners enjoyed success. But it was still the likes of Imran, Craig McDermott and Patrick Patterson that took more wickets than Abdul Qadir and Maninder Singh. In 96 under lights in many games, Sri Lanka won with spinners having an impact. But how many wickets did Murali take in the tournament? Same as Jayasuriya. Seven. In six matches each. Sri Lankan spinners took 6 wickets in the final but 4 of those were to part timers including 3 to Aravinda. Kumble took the most wickets for the tournament yet India lost three games including getting smashed in the semi final by Sri Lanka. Having a good spinner doesn't guarantee wins.

  • John on January 26, 2011, 2:48 GMT

    I think people are actually focussing too much on bowling in general. Given that the pitches are quite likely to be absolute roads with no assistance for bowlers, and that the matches will be played on tiny dinky little grounds, the bowlers' (pace and spin) impact should be fairly limited. It's all going to be about who has the most dominant top 3 and who has the best lower-middle order sloggers. Bowling will have its place yes, but this should well and truly be a WC dominated by batsmen.

  • Leo on January 26, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    (contd...) So I think by picking up more spinners, most of the teams are doing the right thing. Pack your team with spinners against non-subcontinent teams. Against Subcontinent teams it may not be that good an idea.

  • Leo on January 26, 2011, 1:23 GMT

    @Something_Witty - I dont know if you want to berate spinners's chance just because everyone are talking up spinners. Anyways, there is a reason why everyone thinks spinners would perform better in subcontinent. here is the stats fro u for last 10 yrs spinners 2001-2010 417 2139 15083.2 582 69524 2037 6/13 34.13 4.60 44.4 40 18 pacers 2001-2010 417 2853 21524.3 1461 107087 3354 8/19 31.92 4.97 38.5 85 30 a better economy rate, comparable strike rate and not so worse ave - of course pacers average a better 31.92 than spinners 34.13, but 90% in the list are specialists, while 50% spinners in the list are part timers. And now, spinners vs teams other than india, pak, SL, Ban while playing in sub continent 2001-2010 265 849 6193.4 296 26864 910 6/27 29.52 4.33 40.8 21 9 same for pacers 2001-2010 265 871 6418.0 508 30568 1053 8/19 29.02 4.76 36.5 27 12 almost identical ave, better eco and comparable SR. Now t think of how much damage a specialist like Swan can do.

  • John on January 26, 2011, 1:18 GMT

    Swann won't be missed as much in this series (Australia's curators were obviously given the mandate to prepare pitches that would not favor spin, both in the ODIs and the tests, as that's Australia's weakest suit), but he will be needed in the subcontinent. Despite Something_Witty's hopeful assessment, the reason India has been so successful at home has not been because of their demon fast bowlers. There's a place for good swing bowling, especially reverse swing, from accurate seamers, but the only country that has produced fast wickets is Pakistan, and the WC isn't being played there. Slow and slow-medium pacers who do a bit with the ball and bowl a good length are very hard to get away. That's why Colly is also an important bowler, as is Yardy. These guys are going to do much better in India than they have done in Australia and Swann's the leader of that group. Hopefully his injuries aren't severe and the rest will do him (and Bresnan) good.

  • Andrew on January 25, 2011, 16:01 GMT

    We still look good for the world cup. These little injuries could be a blessing in disguise. Lets not peak too early eh?

  • Don on January 25, 2011, 14:00 GMT

    Something_Witty......good bowlers of all types will be needed & when they are as good as Swann they will indeed have impact.

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