Amongst the wreckage of the Ashes tour comes another seismic bombshell — the best English spinner in a generation has handed his ticket in.
Yes it’s true — Graeme Swann has announced his immediate retirement. What a massive loss. Swann was a great player, competitor, fighter and all-round team man. He could even hold a bat the right way round.
Having taken 255 wickets in his test career at a shade under 30 a piece, his record is there for all to see and it’s going to be very hard to replace him. As always with England there’s hardly a queue of spinners banging down the door to take his place in the side. So does that mean we go back to the days of only ever picking a twirler when the pitch suits rather than a first choice?
It certainly looks that way — Monty has previously shown signs of being someone filling the spot. But away from him who’s left? Simple answer at the moment is there is no one.
It raises a more worrying question about what is going on in the England dressing room. They’ve just surrendered the Ashes and I’m wondering if one or two more others may follow Swann’s lead. There is clearly discontent. Swann is gone. Trott may never return. Is Pieterson next? Prior is on a bad run too and is the wrong side of 30. Might he bow out as well? Maybe even Jimmy Anderson as an outside bet?
All speculation of course and hopefully speculation that is wide of the mark. Any fan of England wishing for it to happen should look to the example of the brilliant Australian side who lost some of their best servants all in one go and quickly banish such thoughts. With the all-conquering Antipodeans, Hayden, Langer, Gillchrist, Warne and McGrath all shuffled off and the side suffered badly as a result. Evolution not revolution is what is needed. The fight to replace Swann will be a hard fought battle in itself – I hope for the sake of the team it isn’t complicated by having to replace half a team.
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