England cricket rocked by Graeme Swann retirement
Graeme Swann, the England spinner, has announced his immediate retirement from international cricket, meaning that he will not be available for the last two Tests of the Ashes series.
Swann, 34, said: “I came to Australia in the hope of winning our fourth Ashes series on the trot but that’s now impossible.
“So it’s time for someone else to knuckle in and enjoy the ride.
“I could have made myself available for the last two Tests and maybe had a bit of a send-off from the Barmy Army.
“But that’s no reason to hang on for two more games. I like to be the centre of attention – but for the right reason by winning games of cricket.”
Swann took just seven wickets at 80 runs apiece in the first three Tests as Australia’s batsmen targeted his bowling to surge into a 3-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Matt Prior is likely to pay the price for England’s loss of the Ashes by being dropped for the fourth Test in Melbourne starting on Boxing Day, and replaced by Jonny Bairstow.
Prior, 31, has steadily lost form and confidence since his match-saving century in the Auckland Test in March. Prior’s 69 in the second innings of the second Test in Adelaide, when defeat was already assured, is his only 50 in any format since March.
However, it was his wicketkeeping during the third Test in Perth which damaged
his confidence even more. He missed two stumpings which allowed Australia opening batsman David Warner to score a demoralising century.
In his Telegraph column Prior wrote after the Perth defeat: “This is England’s lowest moment as a team. What disappointed me the most about my performance was missing the stumping of David Warner when he was on 13 because it was so costly. I am a big enough person to admit that.”
Prior has not missed a Test for England since he was recalled for the summer of 2009, replacing Tim Ambrose. His style of offside strokeplay quickly turned matches in England’s favour or rammed home an advantage. But the Australian bowlers this year have found a flaw in Prior’s technique. as well as that of other England batsmen. Peter Siddle, angling the ball in at Prior, has dismissed him 10 times in Tests.
In helping England reach No 1 in the world Test rankings in 2011, Prior formed a strong late-middle order with Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann and they called themselves the Engine Room of England’s team. This year, however, the wheels have failed to turn.
Bairstow, 24, has played 12 Tests for England as a batsman but none as a keeper. He kept wicket in a practice game in Alice Springs between the first and second Tests, and again for the Performance Squad in their match against Western Australia Seconds in Perth just before the third Test. He has become Yorkshire’s regular keeper.
255 wkts at 29.96 apiece
17 5-wkt hauls. Best 6-65 v Pakistan at Edgbaston, Aug 2010
3 10-wkt matches. Best 10-132 v New Zealand at Headingley, May 2013
1370 runs at 22.09
5 50s, HS 85 at South Africa at Centurion, Dec 2009
104 wkts at 27.76
1 5-wkt haul, best 5-28 at Durham, Sept 2009
500 runs at 13.88
HS 34 v Sri Lanka at Dambulla, Oct 2007
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