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‘England will miss Swann’

Nottingham: Kevin Pietersen thinks England could be in for a particularly tough Test series at home against India in the absence of Graeme Swann.

Off-spinner Swann’s retirement during England’s 0-5 Ashes thrashing in Australia has left Alastair Cook’s side without a specialist slow bowler, given the selectors refusal to recall Monty Panesar. Swann took 255 wickets in 60 Tests and was a mainstay of the attack.

This was in sharp contrast to the situation during the team’s recent 0-1 defeat in a two-Test series at home to Sri Lanka where Moeen Ali, primarily a batsman, bowled off-spin. Captain Cook, though, appeared reluctant to trust Moeen with the ball.

“Alastair struggles to captain the side when opposition batsmen are well set. That’s because he cannot toss the ball over to Swann, who could defend and attack in equal measure,” Pietersen wrote in his column.

“Swann made Andrew Strauss’s captaincy look good and he made Cook’s look good, too, by making crucial breakthroughs when the opposition was threatening to take the game away.

“It was down to Swann’s genius and not tactical masterstrokes. The Indians respect Swann hugely. They think he is a fantastic bowler and I know they will enjoy facing any other English spinner who bowls to themů England might have to pay for Swann’s absence” (AFP)