Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Swann Injury Shows Up One of England's Shortcomings

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Swann Injury Shows Up One of England's Shortcomings

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse Cricket Correspondent

ENGLAND players rarely miss a chance to praise the depth of talent within their squad but the injury scare suffered by Graeme Swann against Essex showed that some departments are stronger than others.

Swann was struck on the right forearm by Tymal Mills while batting and needed an X-ray. The spinner suffered heavy bruising but no break and was expected to bowl at some point in the final two days of this Ashes warm-up.

This match is a chance for Tim Bresnan and Steve Finn to fight for the final place in a four-man bowling attack for the First Test on July 10. Graham Onions is also trying to make his case but were Swann to miss out, where would England turn? James Tredwell was an outstanding replacement in the Champions Trophy, when Swann's back and calf problems restricted him to just one appearance. But while Tredwell is a smart, experienced off-spinner, he is still to take a first-class wicket in five matches for Kent this season.

No matter how many left-handed batsmen Australia include in their top six when the teams are named for Trent Bridge, Tredwell would inspire far less trepidation than Swann.

Monty Panesar has bowled well in tandem with Swann on helpful wickets in the subcontinent; less so when conditions have not been as friendly or, as was the case during the recent tour of New Zealand, he has had to carry the burden of slow bowling alone.

At 31, it seems unlikely that Panesar will change dramatically in his remaining years as a cricketer. He has already played 48 Tests and, for as long as Swann is healthy and motivated, it will be difficult for him to play regularly for England. Below those three, there is ability and potential, but insufficient consistency or proven quality.

Scott Borthwick, of Durham, has played three limited-overs matches, the last against India in 2011. He has made eight appearances in the Championship this season, taking 18 wickets.

His fellow leg-spinner, Adil Rashid, is having a fine season for Yorkshire but has not played for his country for four years. …

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