Graeme Swann is probably underrated

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Graeme Swann appeals for equality for off spinnersGraeme Swann saved England with five wickets and in an earlier pre-referral era, he might have had seven. Not bad for an off-spinner in the first innings of a match.

Not bad for an off-spinner in any innings, many say. Maybe Warne and Murali are to blame, but everyone thinks you need mystery these days. You don’t. It helps, but it’s not like a spin bowler can’t take wickets with turn and a bit of nous.

Swann compliments tend to take the form ‘he’s doing very well considering’. Graeme Swann’s doing well full stop: 53 Test wickets at 29.60. In this day and age, that’s actually pretty special.

It’s a tough life being a spinner because you’re generally on your own. Fail to take wickets in the fourth innings and everyone says you’re rubbish; that you should always take wickets when conditions are in your favour. Yet batsmen always have conditions in their favour and they all fail often enough. Batsmen have the benefit of six or seven mates to support them though.

Swanny’s alone and he’s doing all right.


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  1. I don’t follow much of county cricket but can someone explain why it took him so long to break into the national side. Was he totally crap initially or what. He was the best spinner on display when he made his debut against India .

  2. Swann was in the England squad when he was about 21 but didn’t fit in too well. Then he was mediocre for a long time.

    He’s never been amazing in county cricket. Good, but not amazing. Maybe he likes the big matches. Maybe he benefits from being able to plan before games.

  3. The pitches in Tests are better suited to finger spinners – tend to be drier, he’ll get the odd fifth day wicket. He also gets a chance to bowl longer spells with more attacking fields.

    So he is always going to do better at international level than he does at county level.

    He does have an annoying habit of just bowling a bit shite from time to time. You don’t expect that from a spinner.

  4. The move in 2005 to Notts helped, Sandeep, that and the demise of Fletcher who wasn’t the most fervent Swann fan

  5. I like Graeme Swann, and I hope that this is wrong, but isn’t there a tendency for “new” international spinners to get a few wickets just by being new. At some point the analysts have got a couple of years’ data to work with, and the opposition batsmen work out how to play them.

    After which, the ability of a spinner to be unpredictable starts to matter.

    (For this assessment I have used the statistically significant sample set of Monty Panesar.)

  6. @Bert
    Also consider the example of Mendis, who went from terrifying to terrible in the span of a year or so.

  7. In earlier times, John Emburey had a fantastic start to his Test career the faded.

    Ashley Giles breaks your trend Bert – he was non-lethal forever.

  8. For Panesar I loved Warne’s remark ” He hasn’t played 40 odd tests, he has simply played his first test 40 odd times, he simply hasn’t learned anything new” or something to that effect..

    I like Swann, good to see a cricketer with a sense of humour. Hope he does well.

  9. I’ve just heard on TMS that Swann has just performed a full on Pietersen style switch hit.

    And his test match average has just gone over 40 for the first time.

    England’s Dan Vettori….

    Not a twat…regardless of what comes out of his mouth….


  10. Because Swann gives a cracking post-match interview, people tend to remember the soundbites rather than the performance. Having cocked up his first chance at international cricket he’s certainly not going to be accused of wasting his second opportunity (and the possibility of a glittering meeja career!).

  11. What with his swashbuckling prankarama profile – a five wicket hall and possibly a match saving top scoring 85 –
    I reckon he is positioning himself as the new Freddie Flintoff.

  12. I hope Geoffrey doesn’t read this page, if he read someone describe Paul Harris as underrated I think he might implode in a fit of unprecedented disgust.

  13. Swann is much more likeable than Flintoff. Doesn’t take himself half as seriously, which may well be why he’s underrated. A shame and I really hope he fulfils my expectations (I’m not from England, btw) as he’s very entertaining on and off the field.

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