Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann has announced that it is hard to believe the national team cannot find a frontline spinner.
England have been looking for a suitable candidate to replace Swann after he retired midway through the last Ashes series against Australia.
“I can’t believe out of 18 counties, one or two of them haven’t gone for the spinning options,” Swann told the BBC. “They all do the same: medium pace. Why doesn’t someone leave their wickets dry and play two or three spinners? One year we did that at Northants and walked the Second Division because we won every home game by an innings.”
Swann also called on the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to start preparing more spin-friendly pitches during County Championship matches.
“If you had a couple of centres around the country producing turning pitches and committing to developing spinners you would start getting people going there,” he said. “You would get 16-year-olds thinking that going to one of those counties and bowling spin could be a good career choice.
“At the moment, if I went to watch a county game, there would be no incentive to bowl spin, because most of them stand at second slip picking their nose for 95 overs.”
However, Swann admitted that it was tough to become a frontline spinner.
“It is such a lonely position that you have got to grow into it, understand it, to deal with pressure,” he said. “Day one of a Test match, I would wake up without a care in the world, knowing all I had to do was bowl 20 overs for 60 runs. On day four, I would wake up feeling electrified knowing they were expecting me to take six wickets to win the game.
“Young spinners are not used to that; they are not ready for that pressure of having Nasser Hussain sticking a microphone under their nose first thing in the morning and saying, ‘It’s up to you. Are you going to do it?”
Swann also stated that it is important for captain Alastair Cook to invest some faith in the spinner he chooses.
“You have to win your captain over,” he said. “I was lucky that I won Andrew Strauss over early on by getting wickets in my first game. I am very stroppy when I bowl so I just told them to give me the field I wanted or they could let someone else bowl.”
When asked about England’s decision to call up Lancashire spinner Simon Kerrigan for the second Test against India at Lord’s, Swann said: “I think England coach Peter Moores is keen to get Kerrigan back into the team, but I’d love to see him get a lot more wickets under his belt for his own confidence and state of mind.
“Scott Borthwick is a very, very talented young bowler – he just needs to bowl a lot more overs. He needs to get away from Durham.”