Sunday, December 22, 2013

England fans left short changed and up the swanny

Ex players are closing ranks behind Graeme Swann and supporting his no doubt 'brave' decision to call time on his England career. For England's supporters however it is the thin end of the wedge yet again.

The Barmy Army no less have also tweeted their support for him this morning and they are right that he has in the past been a marvellous servant to English cricket and they support their team no matter what, hats off to them. It should be pointed out of course he has been rewarded handsomely for this service.

Last time out down under, Swann milked the adulation to the utmost at the MCG with his trademark 'water sprinkler' celebration, there was even a 'how to do the sprinkler' on the internet such was the level of his fame and celebrity. Three years on and not part of a winning team and it's a bit tougher it seems.

Bearing in mind everything that the England fans have given back to Swann and the riches of a central contract from the ECB, would it be too much to suggest that performing 12th man duties at Melbourne and Sydney at the least would go some way to repaying the people that have made him so celebrated?

Many people will of course have sympathy for Graeme Swann, such is the wonderful position of a sporting celebrity. Not a single thought does he have to give to the numerous England fans who have not yet even got on the plane to Australia, I'm alright Jack.

He will be called 'brave' as I said for facing his 'inner demons', his 'personal torment' I'm sure. No one will consider that he's just been on the end of a hammering from Australia and doesn't fancy playing two dead rubbers in Melbourne and Sydney. It's all a bit too difficult really.

Throughout this entire series, England have been outfought. Australia remains the toughest place for a touring team to go now that the West Indies have long since diminished. Swann and many of his colleagues have been found out during this series.

Winning and bullying teams when you are on top is one thing, digging in when it is tough is another matter entirely and they simply don't fancy it. It is weak.

Serious questions must also be asked about the ECB management. There are performance directors, sports psychologists all employed at a huge cost yet both Swann and Trott are back home before Santa Claus gets to town.

How on earth can a team that was supposedly the favourites to win the Ashes be in such disarray with their senior players so completely unprepared for the fight, not one of these highly paid 'experts' saw this coming?

I cannot recall for instance how many articles I have read waxing lyrical about Graeme Gooch's credentials as a batting coach yet England's batting has been nothing short of a disgrace and has been poor since they were cruelly exposed by South Africa at home eighteen months ago.

It is clear that Swann's head and heart are no longer in it and so yes he should go home but I can guarantee that had he been playing poorly but England had been 3-0 up, he would have been off to the MCG to do the sprinkler again.

Instead it will be home to write a book with a newspaper exclusive already secured and an upcoming slot on Strictly Come Dancing. It's all about 'me' after all.

It is of course easy to pick the bones out of this England team but this is now becoming rats deserting the sinking ship. The England fans will still come and yet Swann cannot even repay them with 12th man duties. He accepted a central contract and to tour Australia, he should fulfil his obligations.

I am sure many people will disagree with me and they are more than entitled to, it is clearly a matter with many shades of grey but the simple fact is that the England players would not be going home if they were winning.

Swann has been trumpeted to the maximum about his effect on team spirit, well here are his true colours coming through now it seems. The fans are staying and so should the players - No Nonsense.