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Swann: Elbow has never felt better
Graeme Swann is itching to return to action after declaring that his elbow has "never felt better" following the surgery he had after being ruled out of the Test series in New Zealand.
He is set play his first match of the season for Nottinghamshire against Durham in the County Championship next week, his last chance for first-class cricket with his county before the opening Test of the season against New Zealand at Lord's on May 16.
However, there is also the England Lions game against New Zealand if the selectors feel he needs more overs.
Swann has been bowling in the nets during Nottinghamshire's current match against Derbyshire and is feeling no ill effects after having "13 or 14" pieces of bone removed from his right elbow during the operation in the USA, significantly fewer than came out during the first surgery in 2009 when 29 fragments were found.
"The elbow feels great," Swann said while speaking at a Chance to Shine event to mark the two millionth child to be included in the scheme. "I've been bowling with it over the last two days in the nets and it has never felt better.
"The aim was always for me to come back on Monday against Durham and that is what is going to happen. I was just bored with stupid bowling in the nets and wanted to get back in the game.
"I was actually hoping to play this week against Derby but it just swelled up a little bit and I was told to get back in my box. I'm very happy now but this is the last time in my career I will have elbow surgery."
When Swann was ruled out of the New Zealand series in March, on the opening day of the first Test, he was optimistic that the surgery would be a success but admitted the occasional doubt.
"You go through a mixture of emotions," he said. "You have the panic, then the optimism, then the odd pessimistic day pops its head out of nowhere. But the surgery wasn't as serious as last time and my rehab has gone perfectly."
England missed both Swann's bowling and his on-field spark in New Zealand as the attack laboured to take 20 wickets. With Australia's likely line-up for the Ashes potentially including four left handers in the top order he could be in for a bumper season, while he is also a crucial cog in the one-day team which has a Champions Trophy to aim for.
Swann's recovery is a piece of positive news for England in a week where Kevin Pietersen has been ruled out until at least the Ashes, with his bruised knee taking longer to heal than expected.