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“Graeme has had a great career and contributed to England wins for a long period of time”
Australia head coach Darren Lehmann has revealed that the national team had planned to attack England off-spinner Graeme Swann from the beginning of the ongoing Ashes series.
In a rather shocking move, Swann announced his retirement from international cricket today and only managed to take seven wickets at a dismal average of 80 in the first three Tests.
“We had a plan for him in England but didn’t execute it as well,” Lehmann said. “We changed things around a little bit.
“He’s a big player when they’ve only got four bowlers, or now they’ve got five with Stokes in their side, and you have to try and take one or two of them out of the equation and make their quicks bowl more. That was certainly a plan from us.
“He’s been a great bowler for England and he’s obviously decided enough is enough and moved forward in his life…They’re obviously going to go down Monty’s path in the next two Test matches so it’s a challenge for our blokes to change the way we play against left-arm spin. He [Swann] has been an exceptional bowler and bowled very well in England against us.”
Lehmann added that Australia spinner Nathan Lyon would be “proud of himself” if he were able to equal Swann’s record of 255 Test wickets.
Swann is England’s second-leading wicket taker in terms of spinners and only trails behind the legendary Derek Underwood, who took 297 Test wickets.
“If Nathan Lyon takes 255 he’d be pretty proud of himself I would think,” Lehmann said. “Graeme has had a great career and contributed to England wins for a long period of time. Nathan can take heart from that. They’re obviously very traditional off-spinners. From Nathan’s point of view he’s got a good career in front of him and it’s up to him to grab it with both hands.”