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Swann: Purposeful Without Hogging Limelight

He was regarded as an off-spinner who never really did spin the ball but to silence all this critics, Graeme Swann of England has risen to be a very effective ‘spin’ bowler. Some analysts might comment that the word ‘slow’ should be used instead of ‘spin’ but considering the negligible amount of any worthwhile spin that is extracted by spinners in contemporary cricket, such differentiation is uncalled for. Swann is a different type of bowler, using more drift in the air than spin off the pitch. This makes him very different from the likes of Mendis or Harbhajan Singh who are essentially finger spinners. Muralitharan’s name should not be used here because he is in a category of his own.
However, if all the other spinners are compared at the moment, Swann seems to be the most quiet and unassuming of the achievers with little being said about him in the media and little or no on-field antics — a quiet, consistent performer. Swann has already totalled more than 52 wickets in just 13 test matches. You would need to remember that he has done so without playing on sub-continental wickets. He has always come in when the side wanted to contain runs rather than get wickets and surprisingly, Swann has managed to do both with little fuss. I would personally rank Swann a bit ahead of Bhajji, simply because he has been taking wickets consistently and his bowling is improving with nearly every outing. His immediate competitor seems to be Saeed Ajmal of Pakistan who is a more traditional off-spinner, keeping it slower in the air, and giving the ball a chance to rip-off the surface of the pitch. Further, Swann has the amazing ability to bowl decently with newish balls too. His arm-ball and the drifter that turns into a low-yorker like delivery haven’t been decoded by many batsmen and his recent fiver against the South Africa is testament to his growing stature.

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