Graeme Swann has questioned England’s reluctance to use his expertise to aid their current batch of red-ball spinners.
In an interview with the Observer, Swann said that he’d “love to speak” to England’s spin bowling options, explaining that having his own dedicated coach – Mushtaq Ahmed – through much of his career was “critical” to his own success in international cricket. With 255 Test wickets at 29.96, Swann is England’s seventh highest wicket-taker in the format and played a pivotal role in England’s ascension to the top of the Test rankings in 2011 as well as their memorable series wins in Australia in 2010/11 and in India in 2012.
Swann stated that England’s spinners are being hindered by the lack of specialist coach at their disposal; England’s Test spinners worked with Graeme Welch, a former seam bowler, this summer after ex-New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel was unable to secure the appropriate visa in time.
“Why didn’t they get in touch with me?” said Swann. “I’d love to speak to those guys. And particularly about bowling in India, because that is when the pressure is doubled. But England have never really tapped into how I coped with all that expectation and worked out those conditions. It bemuses me.
“The only time I have spoken to Dom Bess is on a podcast for Sky. It’s ridiculous. These are conversations I’d love to have more but they should be happening in private – in the nets or over dinner – and not just with the spinners. Joe Root is not a natural captain of spin. It’s a fact. That’s not his fault, it’s just the way the thinking in English cricket all revolves around seam-bowling.
“When you finish you feel so far out from the team and, if you do media work, you get viewed with a bit of suspicion, too. It probably meant I didn’t approach them either or make my time available. But I think I have so much to offer the spinners on the mental side of Test cricket.
“Because it’s all in your head. People look at me and think I didn’t give a stuff; I was this cocky so-and-so who didn’t suffer from nerves. But before my Test debut I was absolutely sh****** myself and if anything, I got lucky taking two wickets in my first over.
“But after that, as much as I didn’t look back, I had my own dedicated coach in Mushtaq Ahmed and he was critical to my success. He did so much for my mental state, either before or during Test matches. And it’s the kind of stuff I’m desperate to pass on to these guys.”