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Swann takes aim at 'rollers' in English cricket

Graeme Swann at a practice session Getty Images

Graeme Swann has said slow bowlers who don't attempt to give the ball a rip should be cast out of English cricket. As a devotee of the hard spun off-break, Swann has grown to become perhaps the most accomplished finger spinner in the world, and had no time for 'rollers' who trotted up to the wicket and landed the ball with accuracy but no fizz.

"They should be banished from the first-class game. It winds me up, if you are a spinner, spin the ball," Swann told Reuters. "I have never, ever seen the point of bowling without trying to spin the ball. It's been my bugbear that I have seen some young spinners come up who have got lovely control and land it nicely but don't try to turn it. I really like watching the ball fizzing down. That's why I always like watching Shane Warne bowl, [Muttiah] Muralitharan bowl, these guys who really try and spin it, these are the guys I really try to emulate."

Trying to spin the ball and actually turning it can be two quite different things, as hard pitches will often preclude a finger spinner from extracting much life. It is for this reason Swann rates his spell to Michael Clarke at the MCG during the fourth Ashes Test as the best of his career.

"That's the best I bowled for England, I hardly bowled a bad ball," he said. "It wasn't turning at all but I still managed to get a lot of drift and maintain pressure for the seamers at the other end. I regard that as my finest performance with the ball.

"My role turned into very much a holding role, allowing the seamers to build up pressure at the other end. All I did was try and bowl dot balls. I thought aside from the Perth game [second Test] I was able to do that so I was very happy."

Ahead of Swann is a home series against India, the world's No. 1 Test nation, and he had little hesitation picking out Sachin Tendulkar as an opponent of interest.

"You make challenges within your own head. I always look at the team sheet beforehand and target the batsmen I want to get out and it's always the best player, it gives me personal satisfaction getting the best players out," he said.

"Sachin Tendulkar is the best player the game has had in my lifetime so it's always a pleasure to play against him. But hopefully I won't get to bowl to him too much this year because that would mean Jimmy Anderson is doing his job at the top of the order."