Graeme Swann opened up about the Ashes and the ongoing high scoring series between England and New Zealand. Speaking at an event, Swann said that the ECB was pretty arrogant in the years gone by and that took its toll on the development of the ODI side. The former off spinner also said that the signs displayed by England in the ongoing ODI series against New Zealand were refreshing and it was good of England to play a positive brand of cricket.
Swann also spoke about the all important Ashes and said that it wouldn’t make sense to rule out England. He said that New Zealand was a better test side than Australia and the England fans should be confident and upbeat regarding their team’s chances.
“England were justifiably vilified in the World Cup,” he said. “They were so stuck in their ways. It was the most obvious thing in the world that we were playing an outmoded, outdated form of the game. But arrogance saw us stick to our guns and say ‘everyone is wrong.”
“It is so refreshing that now they have said ‘yeah, tear up the old stats book, now we see what you mean we’re going to go for it’. The whole outlook has changed.” “We were No. 1 in the world but if anyone says ‘that’s because you were the best team’ then that’s absolute bollocks. We were nowhere near the best one-day team in the world. We got extremely lucky. We had 18 home games, we had a series against India where, if we struggled, it rained. And it made people think what we were doing was right, hence the stifled approach up until three weeks ago,” said Swann.
“It’s not Peter Moores’ or Paul Downton’s fault. It’s English one-day cricket from the year 1992 onwards when we were world leaders. Ian Botham opened the batting and we experimented and had exciting players. You can’t say they have been exciting ever since. They have been awful.”
“When Michael Vaughan was Test captain, he was nowhere near good enough to be in the one-day team. But he was captain of the Test team and that has always held that much sway in England. The Test captain is the be-all-and-end-all of English cricket,” said the former off spinner.
Swann then spoke about England’s chances in the Ashes and said, “England missed such a gilt-edged opportunity to see whether Adil could cut the mustard in the West Indies.” “At the time we all said it was a joke, but it seems all the more a glaring klaxon moment now. It is laughable. I would love to have seen him play three Tests in the West Indies. There was, as Test cricket goes, as little pressure as an England player can play under at the moment. It was the ideal schooling ground and they massively cocked up there.”
“But the Ashes is a massive thing. Mentally it’s a step up from Test cricket, which is, in itself, a step up from county cricket. So, Moeen has to play in the first game. He has bags of ability. He just doesn’t have the 10 years of spin-bowling nous and experience he would have had had he been a spin bowler rather than a batsman who used to be thrown the ball a bit. Which in a weird way has put him ahead of the pack as he has avoided the coaching system that teaches spinners not to spin it in this country. He’s very natural. He rips it. I still think he’s the best option.”
“But I think the Ashes are going to be a lot closer than people think. I truly believe that Australia aren’t the best Test team in the world at the moment. New Zealand are. They’re a similar team to Australia. They’ve good seam bowling, aggressive batting and their spinner, although he takes wickets, is probably their weakest link.”
“They’re similar teams. And, when you see what England did to New Zealand at Lord’s, there’s no saying they couldn’t do that. If England fire – if Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler have good games – they’ll win a couple of Tests,” concluded Swann.