Swann wishes Bhajji had a British passport
Ahmedabad, Nov 15: If it wasn’t for Graeme Swann, England’s first day of Test cricket on their current tour to India would’ve been a soul crushing experience. The way India’s first three batsmen went about their business, one got the feeling that the visitors had lost the day. But only until their jovial and classical off-spinner spun them back into the match.
The transition of India’s innings from 134 for 0 to 323 for 4 at the end of day’s play was all due to Swann. The off-spinner accounted for all the Indian wickets to fall on Day 1 of the Ahmedabad Test. And for three of them, Swann didn’t even need the assistance of a fielder. Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli were out clean bowled and Sachin Tendulkar was caught in the deep.
In his end-of-day interview, Swann undermined his impact compared to his fellow bowlers by reminding us that he got more chances to pick wickets than his bowling colleagues, having done the bulk of the bowling. But the fact remains that Swann was, by far, the best England bowler on the day. The numbers prove that. Swann’s figures on the day were 4 for 85 off 32 overs. Rest of the England bowling attack went for 232 runs in 58 overs without a wicket.
In his chat with bcci.tv, the England spinner spoke about the challenges of bowling on the subcontinent tracks and about his favourite Indian spinner. He also wished, in jest, that Harbhajan Singh had a British passport.
You were the only bowler to have an impact today. What do you attribute that to – the wicket, the batting or the way England’s other bowlers bowled?
I think it is a very flat pitch and there’s not a lot in it for the seamers. So, being the only full-time spinner, I had to bowl the bulk of overs. I bowled three times more than anyone else today and it was nice to pick up some wickets. But I thought the other bowlers bowled well too.
In the age where everyone is fascinated about mystery spinners, you bring the classical back into fashion. What are your thoughts on the unorthodox spinners?
If I could bowl mystery balls, I would. But I’m too long in the tooth and too old. With me what you see is what you get. I just rely on patience and hard work to get my wickets.
What is your approach to bowling on subcontinent tracks?
I think you have to be much more patient. A lot of people on the outside expect you to take a wicket every time you run in. In England everyone thinks this is a place where the ball always spins. In reality it doesn’t always do that. It requires a lot of hard work and you have to be a lot patient.
Who was your hero growing up?
John Embury has always been my hero growing up. He was the incumbent England spinner when I was a small child. I always aspired to be like him.
Who’s your favourite Indian spinner?
My favourite Indian spinner was Narendra HIrwani, the leg-spinner. He used to bowl with a head band on. I thought he had a bit of character and was one of my favourites growing up.
What’s your take on the young Indian spin twins, R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha?
They’re fine bowlers. I haven’t played Test cricket with them but they’ve got exceptional records in India. We have to be on top of our game to combat them.
What are your thoughts on the Harbhajan Singh of today?
He’s still a world-class bowler and he showed that in the World Twenty20 game against us. He got four wickets for 12 runs. It shows the depth in India’s spin department that he doesn’t get a game. When he was walking off the field today I laughed and joked about him that I’ll see if he has an English passport.