Hopefully no-one’s told him yet and hopefully he never realises, but England’s performance hinges on how well Graeme Swann plays.
Obviously, taking nine wickets for not a lot had a huge impact on how England won this Test, but nowadays Swann HAS to perform.
That’s not because England’s other bowlers are mediocre. They’re not. It’s because England are only picking four bowlers and Swann is therefore bowling far more than a quarter of his side’s overs. If he bowls badly, the seamers have to get through more work, meaning they bowl worse.
On top of that, being the sole spinner, Swann’s got to be the man taking wickets on fifth day pitches as well. His batting is merely a bonus.
We move that all words such as ‘talisman’ and ‘linchpin’ be reclaimed from Andrew Flintoff and are instead applied to the chinny tweaker.