England will now have to do without the services of off-spinner Graeme Swann who announced his retirement from cricket. Reuters
England off-spinner Graeme Swann surprised everyone with the stunning announcement on Sunday that he is retiring from all forms of cricket with immediate effect.
Swann, therefore, will not take part in the final two Tests of the Ashes against Australia, with Michael Clarke's men already regaining the much-cherished urn courtesy a 3-0 victory.
The England spinner, who has played 60 Tests, taking 255 wickets, and was widely considered as one of the best spinners in the world, revealed he was contemplating quitting for a while now, as injuries continued to take its toll.
However, a final tilt at winning another Ashes series convinced him to give it a go in Australia, but once the series was decided, the decision to retire was easy.
"When I came out on this trip I half expected it to be my last tour for England," Swann said in Melbourne on Sunday. "I was desperately hoping to win the Ashes out here again like we did in 2010-11 but with the Ashes gone now in those three Test matches, personally I think to stay on and selfishly play just to experience another Boxing Day Test match and another Sydney Test match would be wrong.
"It would be wrong for the team, wrong for me as well. It's time for someone else to strap themselves in and enjoy the ride like I have done. It's time for England to rebuild and refocus on winning back these big series. Me hanging around with the decision already made in my head wouldn't be right.
"My body doesn't like playing the long forms of cricket. My arm doesn't cope very well with bowling 30 or 40 overs in the first innings and then repeating it in the second innings a day later anymore. I could feel my performances tapering off in the back end of games and I wasn't happy with that. I'm not willing to just hang on and get by being a bit-part player. I want to be a guy who wins matches for England, and I don't feel I was doing that in the second innings anymore.
"It is disappointing. At the end of The Oval Test match last year, I think why didn't I just stop then? I knew more or less that the time was coming up. But then I'd never forgive myself. We had the chance of coming out here and potentially winning four Ashes series on the bounce. I'd never have forgiven myself had I not come out here and given it a crack."
Swann, who managed only seven wickets in three Test matches in the current Ashes series, will be the second England player to prematurely end their sojourn in the current Ashes series in Australia, with Jonathan Trott leaving the tour after the first Test due to a stress-related illness.
The off-spinner, 34, said he had informed his teammates of his decision to hang up his boots on Sunday morning. "They've all been very supportive and congratulated me on my career and wished me luck for the future," he added. "I wished them all the luck in the world. I'm an England fan and I want to see England cricket No.1 in the world, winning games and winning Ashes series. I think the core of that team in the change room are the guys to do that."
England coach Andy Flower admitted the side would miss Swann's services. "Graeme Swann has made an outstanding contribution to the England cricket team in all formats throughout an incredibly successful career and I would like to congratulate him on all that he has achieved," Flower said. His commitment, competitive spirit and sense of humour have been recognised and admired by team-mates and supporters alike and he has played a big part in England's success over the last five years.
"The dressing room will be a very different place without Graeme's unique personality and I would like to wish him all the very best for the future."
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