Graeme Swann (Courtesy: Getty Images)
Graeme Swann (Courtesy: Getty Images)

Graeme Swann was one of the finest spinners from 21st century. A classical off-spinner, who relied more on drift and flight than doosras, Swann in a short career managed to baffle best of batsmen with his art. Swann’s rise in stature helped England to win The Ashes three consecutive times and climb to the No.1 spot in the ICC Test Rankings. He was one of the stars who guided England to a 2-1 win in India in 2012-13. He retired in the middle of the Ashes 2013-14 and ever since, England have struggled to replace his big boots. He works as a cricket analyst and is widely regarded for his sense of humour.

On Twitter, the former cricketer was asked to name his all-time XI of the best oppositions he faced. Surprisingly, Swann’s side has no mention of MS Dhoni, a cricketer against whom he has played a lot of Test cricket. For that matter, there in no Kumar Sangakkara as well and this raises many eyebrows. South Africa’s Mark Boucher has been picked as the wicketkeeper. Two Indians have however made it to the side. Rahul Dravid, who was exceptional during India’s 0-4 drubbing against England in 2011 notching up 3 hundreds, finds a place as an opener. So does former South African skipper Graeme Smith, who has an exceptional record in England.

In a series of tweets he went on to explain further.

 

 

 

The middle-order sees Ricky Ponting at No.3, followed by Jacques Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar and Mahela Jayawardene. While Boucher keeps wicket, the three main pacers (apart from Kallis) are Dale Steyn, Mitchell Johnson and Tim Southee. Steyn is inarguably the best fast bowler from this century while Johnson almost singlehandedly dismantled England in Swann’s last series and Southee is good swing bowler who for years has led the New Zealand pace attack.

Fellow off-spinner Saeed Ajmal finds a spot in the side as the lone spin bowler. Ajmal was England’s destructor-in-chief when they were whitewashed 3-0 against Pakistan in the UAE.

Despite the notable exclusions, this side does look formidable.