- England in New Zealand
Swann admits Ashes elbow worry
Graeme Swann has admitted he is still being plagued by an elbow injury he hopes will not force him out of this year's Ashes battles with Australia.
Swann is England's most potent slow-bowling threat and has repeatedly caused problems for Australia.
Back-to-back Ashes battles take place in the second half of the year and Swann is worried about his well-being. He is currently preparing for the first Test of the New Zealand series and is nursing the elbow he had surgery on in 2009.
"I have one big worry," Swann wrote in his column in the Sun, "the state of my right elbow.
"It caused me discomfort again during our only warm-up match before tonight's first Test and I had to leave the field.
"I'll be honest, the elbow is always a concern. It's been hanging over me for several years and, despite having an operation in 2009, the problem hasn't entirely gone away.
"I was rested from the one-day series in India and that meant I had around seven weeks at home, which was brilliant. It gave the elbow a nice break. But it stiffened up during our three-wicket defeat to a New Zealand XI in Queenstown and I went off for some treatment. Had it been a Test match, I would have carried on bowling and suffered the consequences the next day. Clearly, needing treatment in my first match after a long break was not great."
At 33, Swann realises he may not be around for the next set of Ashes encounters and wants to be at full tilt to make a telling contribution.
He said: "It would be a massive pain in the backside if my wonky elbow forced me to miss any of the Tests against Australia. I'm absolutely determined to be available for what might be my final two Ashes series - and that means managing the elbow as well as possible.
"When I had my op, the surgeon removed 29 fragments of bone but had to leave a couple around the elbow because of their proximity to the nerve.
"It means the joint tends to stiffen up and it certainly hurts whenever I bang it.
"This year of all years, I don't want the elbow to cause any problems. I want to be fit for as much Test cricket as possible and, fingers crossed, I will be."