Monday, February 28, 2011

Graeme Swann

Graeme Swann Graeme Swann of England looks on during the England nets session at the  M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on February 26, 2011 in Bangalore, India.

About Graeme Swann

Full name Graeme Swann

Born March 24, 1979, Northampton

Current age 31 years 303 days

Major teams England, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire

Nickname Chin

Playing role Bowler

Batting style Right-hand bat

Bowling style Right-arm offbreak

Height 6 ft 0 in

Education Sponne School, Towcester

Relation Father - R Swann, Brother - AJ Swann

Graeme Swann came to prominence with a maiden first-class century for Northants against Leicestershire in the Championship in 1998, his first season, and was regularly promoted in the batting order to provide impetus in one-day cricket. He impressed all observers with his positive attitude and energy. Fast-tracked into the A team to tour South Africa and Zimbabwe, he took 21 wickets at 25.61, and averaged 22 with the bat.

Called up for the final Test against New Zealand during England's inglorious summer of 1999, Swann was subsequently left out of the final XI, but rewarded with a place as part of the new-look England squad to tour South Africa that winter. He found life outside the Test team frustrating, but made his international debut at Bloemfontein in the triangular tournament when Ashley Giles's injury saw him called into the one-day squad. Swann bowled only five overs, but showed confidence in continuing to spin the ball appreciably.

However, his off-field conduct left some unimpressed - what some saw as confidence, others interpreted as arrogance or cheek - and he rapidly slid out of the international reckoning. After marking time with Northants for a while, he decided to seek fame and fortune elsewhere, and packed his bags for Nottinghamshire and Trent Bridge in 2005. This decision was justified when he was a key member of the Nottinghamshire side that won the County Championship in 2005.

After the club's relegation the following summer, Swann played a major part in their return to Division One with 516 runs and 45 wickets. It earned him an international recall for the one-day series in Sri Lanka, nearly eight years after his debut. He made his Test debut against India in Chennai, taking two wickets in his first over - only the second time that has happened.

Before the winter was out Swann's variety and control, allied to his lusty lower-order hitting, had confirmed him as England's first-choice spinner in all formats, and though he started the 2009 Ashes with a nervy performance in the first Test at Cardiff, he soon settled into a crucial series of performances. He produced four-wicket hauls in both of England's victories, at Lord's and The Oval, and he had the honour of taking the decisive wicket of the series, that of Michael Hussey on the final day of the fifth Test.

As England looked to avoid the Ashes hangover that infected their 2005 success, Swann proved pivotal. He helped England to a memorable innings victory in the second Test against South Africa in Durban in December 2009. Swann collected nine wickets in the game, including 5 for 54 in the second innings, which took him to 54 wickets in 2009, the first time an England spinner has managed more than 50 in a year. The performance also propelled him to No.3 in the world, the highest ranking for an England spinner in decades and Swann is now one of the first names on the team sheet. His stature as the leader of their attack in all formats was confirmed when he finished England's leading wicket-taker during their successful 2010 World Twenty20 campaign - finishing with 10 wickets in seven matches.

He was earmarked as England's likeliest matchwinner for the tour of Australia in 2010-11, although in the event he was overshadowed by James Anderson as Michael Hussey took it upon himself to beat him out of the attack in two of the five Tests. Nevertheless, he fronted up with five matchwinning wickets in the second innings at Adelaide, and a critical holding role for the seamers at Melbourne. In between whiles, he confirmed his star status in an unconventional fashion, through his ECB video diary that revealed the inner workings of one of the most cohesive England teams of recent years.

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