‘I am surprised at the timing’ of Swann’s retirement, says Michael Vaughan

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“I don’t think he’s been selfish, I think he’s done it for his own mind”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has announced that he is “surprised at the timing” of off-spinner Graeme Swann’s decision to retire from international cricket, but understands that he was struggling to perform to the best of his ability due to his chronic elbow problems.

Swann has failed to have an impact during the first three Tests of the ongoing Ashes series as he only managed to take seven wickets at a dismal average of 80.

“There will be many cricket fans who have travelled over saying, ‘Wait a minute, you signed up to play the whole of the Ashes tour yet you’re doing one three games in’,” Vaughan said. “But I think it’s more the mind. I think the elbow problem (Swann has had three operations on his bowling elbow ) has just triggered the mind to suggest that enough’s enough.

“I am surprised at the timing, I do think Swann had more cricket left in him, because I know what a wonderful bowler he is. I look to the next two years, England have got only 14 Test matches between now and the next Ashes series.

“There’s a World Cup in 2015 which Swann would have been a part of so he is giving a lot away.

“Those that say he’s being selfish just take into consideration that he’s giving up an England contract of nine months that is a lot of money, so he’s throwing a lot of money away by making the decision now. I don’t think he’s been selfish, I think he’s done it for his own mind, he thinks the team are better off without him.”

Vaughan also believes that England will have a tough time filling the “huge hole” left behind by Swann.

“The England team will certainly miss him,” he said. “It’s going to be a huge hole in the dressing room to fill as well with his character, his fun, his energy.

“I think he is going to be a really hard cricketer for the England side to replace. They will replace him, the team soon moves on, but I do think Swann of the last 20 years is going to be one of the hardest to replace, just for the fact he’s such an attacking spin option, one we’ve not had.”

Mick Newell, who is the director of cricket at Nottinghamshire, which is where Swann spent most of his county career at, stated that the off-spinner was always “committed to improving his game”, despite his “reputation for not taking things seriously”.

“He joined us with a reputation for not taking things seriously but I found him to be very thoughtful about his cricket and very committed to improving his game,” Newell told trentbridge.co.uk. “He knows how to perk up a dressing room and he was an outstanding character to have in a cricket team.

“Swanny has been a dominant performer in Test cricket for six years and it will leave a huge gap in the England team because there is no outstanding spinner quite ready to fill the place that he will leave.

“His chance on the international scene came very late after a long period in county cricket but he grasped it and surpassed all expectations with his achievements at the highest level.”

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