0Graeme Swann announces immediate retirement

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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