No hostility towards Fletcher, says Swann

Graeme Swann said he was not good enough when he was first picked in the squad during Duncan Fletcher’s tenure as coach AFP

By Julian Guyer

London: Jul 20, 2011

Graeme Swann insisted on Tuesday he bore Duncan Fletcher no ill-will despite the now India coach being widely credited with putting the brakes on his England career.The two men will be in opposition when England begin a four-Test series at Lord’s on Thursday.

Although now established as one of the world’s leading off-spinners, Swann’s attitude, which some thought cocky, rubbed Fletcher up the wrong way when the bowler was selected for his maiden England tour, of South Africa in 1999/2000.And it wasn’t until 2008, with Fletcher no longer England coach, that Swann made his Test debut, against India in Chennai, where he took two wickets in his first over.

“A lot of people perceive me and Duncan to have an ill-tempered relationship but we don’t have a relationship,” Swann jokingly told reporters at Lord’s here on Tuesday.

“The truth is when I was first picked for England, I was nowhere near good enough. It wouldn’t have mattered who the coach had been,” the 32-year-old Swann added.Thursday’s match will be the 2,000th Test ever played and the 100th between England and India.

“I’m looking forward to everything about it, no disrespect to Sri Lanka (who England recently beat 1-0 in a rain-marred three-match series) but it feels like the summer’s finally arrived,” Swann said.

England, currently third in the ICC’s Test rankings, could leapfrog table-toppers India at the summit if they take this series by two clear matches and an excited Swann said: “We’re playing against the number one team in the world and we’re striving to be number one.

“It’s the current number one against a team biting at their heels.But that has to take care of itself. We have to try to win each game as it comes and at the end of the series we’ll see where we are, hopefully having won 2-0 or 3-1 to get to number one in the world.”

Another landmark that could be reached during the Lord’s opener would be India great Sachin Tendulkar scoring his 100th international century.”I saw him get a hundred on TV before Sky Sports even started, so he’s phenomenal to still be going now and on the verge of his 100th hundred in international games,” an admiring Swann said.

“But hopefully he’ll have to wait six or seven months for that, because we don’t want him to get one in England.”In this series, because of India’s opposition, no review assistance will be available to the umpires for determining lbw decisions and Swann, who has taken wickets he might otherwise have not had because of leg before replays joked:

“Yeah, I’m stuffed basically!”In my opinion it’s been a great addition over the last couple of years and it works, but the powers that be have decided we’re only using it for caught behind decisions.”I’m sure in a year or two it will be used across the board for all decisions.”