Dogging it Swanny style

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December 23, 2013 by dixwah

Yesterday I won on the punt. So I organised a bender, turned up with $25, bought a round, sipped my pint, said “my heart’s not really in it” and got a tram home.

I called it ‘doing a Swanny’. I’ve copped it since.

Front-runners are often jerks in cricket. The great Australian teams of 15 years ago knew this better than most – McGrath chipping, Steve Waugh glaring, Warnie getting dodgy LBs from Venkat, Gilly smiling incessantly – they were winners, and they were pricks.

Warne appeals, Venkat gives

Warne appeals, Venkat gives

England now have to look in the mirror. They’ve enjoyed a period of sustained success, and it’s coming to an end.

With the series gone, Graeme Swann has pulled the pin. I’ve been thinking about it a fair bit, and yep, it’s a low act. It’s soft, and it lacks character.

Initially, I thought he’d been dropped and spat the dummy. He’s since come out and gone with the ‘new blood’ line, and maybe, with seven wickets at 80, he was honest in his assessment of his impact as a Test player from now on.

My main beef is that Swann committed himself to this Ashes Tour. He was selected on that basis. If he’s not up to playing, he should don the vest and support his teammates. For his commitment to be reliant on his personal and the team’s success, is – to use David Warner terminology – weak.

If Swann wasn't committed to the entire trip, he shouldn't have been on the plane

If Swann wasn’t committed to the entire trip, he shouldn’t have been on the plane

While a slightly different scenario, Jonathan Trott didn’t see it through either. Mental illness is a sorry state, and I’m not for one second trivialising depression or the harm it can cause.

But how much did the team’s performance in Brisbane or his below-par effort contribute to his mental state? Was it an easier out that if he’d repeated his previous ‘Gabba heroics and saved a Test from nowhere?

Swann’s not up for it. Doesn’t like the fielding, bowling 40 overs an innings strains him, and his batting, if Brisbane is any indication, well his mind isn’t in that.

Maybe he just doesn’t want to finish with a career average over 30 (he currently has 255 wickets at 29.96).

He’s entitled to do what he likes, and if he recognises he’s not 100% into it, he probably shouldn’t be there. My issue is he (and Trott) have left their team in a huge hole. As Robbie Hart says in The Wedding Singer after being stood up at the altar, “things that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY”.

The series is gone. But laying down as a result lacks character. Graeme Swann’s tarnished his legacy.

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