x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Experienced Swann excited to guide 'these boys' against West Indies

At 32, Swann is a minimum three years older than any of his charges but the team joker is living by his reputation.

Graeme Swann will be happy to play the "grandad" figure in his first match as the England captain, against West Indies at The Oval today.

At 32, Swann is a minimum three years older than any of his charges selected to take on equally inexperienced opponents in two Twenty20 fixtures in the space of three days.

The off-spinner has taken over the captaincy in the absence of the injured Stuart Broad and his deputy, Eoin Morgan, both struggling with shoulder problems and are unlikely to play again for England this year.

Swann will not be entirely forsaking his reputation as team joker, despite his added responsibility as England seek to build up for next year's defence of the ICC World Twenty20 crown they won in the Caribbean 16 months ago.

True to type, he said: "I feel like a grandad to some of these boys. I've been around the block a few more times than these lads, but it's nice to have that bit of experience under your belt."

Swann is hugely encouraged by the potential of the likes of Jonny Bairstow - fresh from his scintillating international debut against India in Cardiff in last week's final one-day match - and several others. "These young guys are coming into a pressure situation, but we believe they're good enough to cope with that," he said.

"I'm sure they'll enjoy it once they get on to the park and realise what a good time we have. They'll love being a part of it.

"We're very excited about these youngsters. They've been brought up on this format of the game and they're exceptional at it."

* Press Association