London, May 11 (ANI): England ‘s new coach Andy Flower has wasted little time publicly backing his troops in their bid to reclaim the Ashes following the three-day demolition of the West Indies at Lord’s, and off-spinner Graeme Swann is seen as the man most likely to trouble Australia’s top order.
While Cricket Australia is forced to hold a spin summit and has no clear-cut favourite for the tweaking role, Swann has bolstered his reputation by terrorising the Windies’ left-handers.
With Australia set to play five lefties in their batting line-up, Swann is being billed as a potential saviour for England.
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted England captain Andrew Strauss as saying: “Swann is an excellent bowler at left-handers in particular. I haven’t seen a left-hander play him with real confidence yet. He troubles everyone, has a good variety – and I think he’s a smart bowler. Possibly the fact he’s come in a little bit late in his career means he’s had a little bit more time to think about his variations, how to out-think people and get them out. We’re excited about what he can offer us.”
Flower’s first match in charge yielded a 10-wicket win, capping a remarkable turnaround from the humiliation of the 51-run dismissal in Kingston three months ago, and he believes England can perform a similar about-face from the 5-0 drubbing of the previous Ashes series in Australia.
“We have not talked about the Ashes series in detail but we have had a few thoughts and discussions. We aim high. We want to win the Twenty20 World Cup and, yes, I do believe we can win the Ashes,” Flower said.
England has also been buoyed by the emergence of young guns Ravi Bopara at first drop and Graham Onions in the pace attack.
Closer to home, Australian players are locked in a tense standoff with CA over payments for next season, with their contracts having expired two weeks ago.
The Australian Cricketers’ Association is fighting for higher wages for players but CA says the global economic crisis has forced it to tighten the belt. (ANI)