Swann has ‘given his all in the England shirt and can be very proud of his achievements’, says Alastair Cook

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“He is going to be missed hugely”

England captain Alastair Cook has paid tribute to Graeme Swann after the off-spinner rocked the cricketing world by announcing his retirement midway through the ongoing Ashes series.

Cook noted that Swann had “given his all in the England shirt and can be very proud of his achievements”.

“Graeme has had a fantastic career,” Cook said. “He has been an integral part of our success, both on and off the field.

“He is going to be missed hugely. But he just knew this was the time.

“He’d given his all in the England shirt and can be very proud of his achievements.

“He can also take great credit for the way he managed to bring that more relaxed atmosphere to the team.

“I played a year or two before he came into the England team, but I noticed straightaway he made people enjoy playing cricket for England maybe more than when I first started.”

Swann’s departure is a massive blow for England as they now have to find another spinner to fill his spot before the Boxing Day Test gets underway in Melbourne tomorrow.

Due to Swann’s sudden retirement, England have called up uncapped leg-spinner Scott Borthwick and off-spinner James Tredwell.

“Obviously, it is a huge decision to make,” Cook said. “Knowing you are never going to pull on an England shirt again must be quite a scary feeling – especially when you make that decision yourself.

“I think it is a very brave decision for him to do it now, in terms of what he is giving up and everything that goes with playing for England.

“But I think he knows deep down, after speaking to him, he had no more to give – and he didn’t feel he could perform to the standards that he set for himself.”

Speaking about the highly controversial comments Swann made after announcing his retirement, Cook said: “When we heard about it this morning, it was a surprise comment. But Swanny has made it very clear to the lads he didn’t mean any England player.”

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