Graeme Swann recently had to play a role that has been highly unusual for him over recent times, when he was forced to play the supporting spinner’s role in the 2nd Test against Pakistan, with his spin counter-part Monty Panesar being given many more overs by captain Andrew Strauss.
Swann did not bowl badly in this Test at all, bowling economically and picking up 5 wickets in the match at a healthy average. However, the fact remains that when Strauss was looking for a bowler that he could rely upon to bowl tightly as well as picking up wickets, he turned to Panesar.
This was slightly surprising seeing as Panesar had been out of the England Test side for a considerable amount of time, and Swann has been arguably England’s best bowler of recent times.
In the first innings Panesar bowled considerably more than Swann, but with less success, gaining fewer wickets and bowling at only a slightly less economical run rate. However, in the second innings, Panesar once again bowled more than Swann, but rewarded his captain’s faith, by picking up 6 priceless second innings wickets, whereas Swann picked up just the 2.
Swann, for now, should not be too worried about the apparent re-emergence of Monty Panesar as a Test match quality bowler, as his exceptional performances in Ashes victories and in the World T20 should not be forgotten in a hurry, but Swann will be aware of the pressure he will have on his place.
However, with most of his ‘home’ games being in England, where the pitches are notorious for being ideal for seamers, he will be aware that whenever he is given a pitch which is likely to assist the spinners, there is massive expectation on his shoulders to pick up wickets.
Speaking to the cricket equipment – talentcricket.co.uk website, Swann admitted he preferred being the number one bowler, but that he understood why Strauss had chosen Panesar, and that he would go away and work on his game.