• Cricket

'Awful' Swann felt powerless in Australia

ESPN staff
January 27, 2014
Graeme Swann announced hsi shock retirement just four days before the fourth Ashes Test © Getty Images

Former England spinner Graeme Swann described his decision to retire during the disastrous Ashes campaign as "the most sobering decision" of his career.

Swann announced hs immediate retirement from the sport after the third Test in Australia, with England having already lost the series.

Alastair Cook's side went on to lose all five Ashes Tests, but Swann insists that no captain could have led England to victory under the circumstances and denied the rumours of rifts in the squad.

Swann is England's sixth-highest Test wicket-taker with 255 to his name, but a second operation on his elbow in March 2013 had a significant effect on his bowling action, something the Australian batsmen exploited ruthlessly.

"Quite simply, I was awful," Swann told BBC Radio 5 Live. "After my second elbow operation, I've never really got the same revolutions I got before it, but it just [deteriorated] and I really felt powerless to tie people down.

"In Adelaide, I was getting hit for six by a rabbit who bats at number 11. It gets to a point that you realise you are hindering the team.

"To actually come to that conclusion is possibly the most sobering decision I have ever had to make. It was horrendous."

England suffered just their third Ashes whitewash in history, but while some have questioned Cook's future as captain, Swann insists it was an unavoidable collective failure and urged the skipper to stay in the job.

"No man could have captained us this winter - there is not a captain on earth," Swann said. "You could bring back Mike Brearley and he wouldn't have done any good."

In spite of the defeat, Swann insists reports of divisions in the dressing room were wide of the mark, particularly talk of a rift between Kevin Pietersen and Andy Flower.

"Some of the stuff I have read is just a made-up pack of lies," he added. "There was one line in one of the famous tabloids saying KP refused to go to the Christmas dinner. He sat on the table next to me with his whole family."

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