x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Graeme Swann advocates two-pronged spin attack on turning pitches

The England off-spinner backs the selection of Monty Panesar for the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai.

Graeme Swann, right, is thrilled to see Monty Panesar back in the England squad.
Graeme Swann, right, is thrilled to see Monty Panesar back in the England squad.

DUBAI // Graeme Swann has advocated the idea of playing two slow bowlers in the England XI for the first Test against Pakistan starting on Tuesday.

England warmed up for the first match of the three-Test series with a 100-run win against a Pakistan Cricket Board XI with Monty Panesar, the left-arm spinner, staking his claims to partner Swann with eight wickets in the game. And Swann, England's front line spin bowler, backed the idea of playing with two spinners on the turning pitches in UAE.

"Yes I would, I've always advocated the use of two spinners and I love the rhythm and tempo the game takes when there are two spinners," said Swann, who is expected to play a lead role for England again.

"You have all the men around the bat and with everyone in close you can make shot suggestions to the batsman that he might not otherwise do," said Swann of the action when two spinners play in a Test.

England last played two spinners in a Test against Bangladesh in March 2010, with off-spinner James Tredwell partnering Swann.

Swann, 32, welcomed the return of Panesar, who has not played a Test since the Cardiff Ashes match in 2009.

"It is great to see Monty back and bowling so well. It is always tough if you lose form and your place in the team. It is very hard to dust yourself down and get back to your fighting weight," said Swann, who added that he does not feel pressure from Panesar.

When asked about the Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal's plans to unveil a mystery delivery, Swann replied with amazement: "That is the greatest thing about it, because all the spinners that come up with these 'balls' so to speak, the names are highly unoriginal and not impressive.

"But the 'teesra' is a stroke of genius," said Swann.