Graeme 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.