Graeme Swann has apologised for his behaviour during England's two-wicket defeat against Bangladesh at Chittagong on Friday, but still believes the ICC was wrong to fine him 10% of his match fee, as he described the decision to play a day/night match in such dew-heavy conditions as "ludicrous".
On a low and spin-friendly surface, Swann's offbreaks were expected to be one of England's key weapons as they set about defending a below-par total of 225. However, on a ground that was hosting its first day/night fixture, it soon became clear that the early-evening dew would be a significant factor, with the wet conditions leading to three ball-changes in the course of Bangladesh's innings.
"I was wrong to swear and lose my temper during England's defeat against Bangladesh and I apologised straightaway to umpire Daryl Harper," Swann wrote in his column in The Sun. "But I think it was ludicrous to play a day/night match in the World Cup that was so heavily influenced by the dew. The ball was so wet it was like trying to bowl with a bar of soap."
Swann's frustration was apparent right from the start of his spell as he regularly stopped midway through his run-up, and at one stage he was heard swearing over the stump microphone as he served up a long-hop that was cut through point. "My frustration boiled over on Friday evening and I was trying to get the ball changed," he said. "It was changed three times in total but it should have been changed every two or three overs. It felt like playing football with both hands tied behind my back.
"To be caught swearing by the stump mic was very disappointing," he added. "I don't condone bad language on the field, especially if it is directed near the umpire. Of course, the dew wasn't the umpires' fault but every time the replacement rolled across the outfield, it became drenched. I was muttering things to myself under my breath that were far worse and I'm glad they weren't picked up. Andrew Strauss told me to calm down, which was fair enough. I apologised to Daryl, saying, 'Sorry, that was out of line'."
Despite admitting he was in the wrong for his outburst, Swann was adamant that the ICC's sanction was unnecessary. "My punishment was to be docked 10 percent of my match fee but I shouldn't be fined at all," he said. "When you have venues where the dew is heavy, day/night cricket shouldn't be played there. At some grounds, spin bowlers might as well not play if they have to bowl at night."
England's failure to overcome Bangladesh has left their World Cup fate dangling by a thread. They need to beat West Indies in their final Group B fixture in Chennai on Thursday to stand any chance of going through to the quarter-finals, and even then they will need at least one of their three main rivals for fourth place - Bangladesh, West Indies and South Africa - to lose their remaining matches.
"Following England in this World Cup is a bit like following Newcastle United - you never know what you're going to get," said Swann. One minute we're beating South Africa, the next we're losing to Ireland and Bangladesh. We have no chance unless we sort out our consistency, and although it has been a long, hard winter, we need to ask ourselves some questions if we can't pull it out the bag for the World Cup."