Graeme Swann selects the best XI from those he played against
After picking the best players from the current lot, former England spinner Graeme Swann has chosen his dream team from those he played against. While the batting lineup features mostly the popular choices from the late 2000s to the early 2010s era, the bowling attack contains a surprise or two.
The 37-year old was among the world’s premier spinners during his heydays. Though he did not possess any discernible mystery deliveries, his classical action and the ability to vary his pace smartly turned him into a major threat.
Despite playing a solitary ODI against South Africa at Bloemfontein in 2000, Swann had to wait for 8 more years before making his Test debut. However, it turned out to be a memorable match for the opposition team. The off-spinner saw a star-studded Indian batting lineup chase down a daunting fourth-innings total of 387 on a rapidly deteriorating pitch in Chennai.
Not surprisingly, he has included the hero of that epic chase in his dream team. Sachin Tendulkar mans the middle-order alongside the likes of Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Mahela Jayawardene. The Sri Lankan great’s ability to manipulate spinners could have got him the nod ahead of his close friend Kumar Sangakkara.
Although he batted at number three for the majority of his stellar career, Rahul Dravid opens the innings in Swann’s team. The resolute Graeme Smith completes a left-right pairing at the top of the order. Mark Boucher joins his former skipper as the side’s talisman wicket-keeper.
The Northampton-born cricketer has opted for the combination of three pacers and a sole spinner in his bowling attack. Dale Steyn is the spearhead with a mean out-swinger and an imposing record to his name. Mitchell Johnson’s moustachioed exploits in Swann’s final series earns him a spot in the side.
Tim Southee’s ability to move the new-ball at considerable pace seals his place in the eleven ahead of seamers like Ryan Harris and Zaheer Khan. Pakistan’s mystery spinner Saeed Ajmal, who was Swann’s antithesis in terms of bowling style, completes the team.
Graeme Swann’s Dream Team – Rahul Dravid, Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar, Mahela Jayawardena, Mark Boucher, Saeed Ajmal, Dale Steyn, Mitchell Johnson and Tim Southee
From Graeme Swann’s official Twitter handle:
Dravid, G Smith, Ponting, Kallis, Tendulkar, Jayawardena, Boucher, Ajmal, Steyn, Johnson, Southee https://t.co/goH09uAm5w— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) December 27, 2016
Kumar Sangakkara’s brilliance or Mahela Jayawardene’s class?
Both greats, but Mahela was a simply wonderful player https://t.co/KIoshla8LM— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) December 27, 2016
Not having to bowl against Brian Lara and Adam Gilchrist – Is Swann fortunate or unfortunate?
Didn't play against Brian Lara or Adam Gilchrist https://t.co/3nscOphIg4— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) December 27, 2016
I agree!! I loved bowling at lefties but those two were class https://t.co/yt3BX8w1A7— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) December 27, 2016
Better be prepared for the ‘disgraceful’ exclusion of Sir Don Bradman and WG Grace
Our careers didn't quite cross! https://t.co/cbV7H7vPFT— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) December 27, 2016
When a technicality ruled out Sangakkara
Published 28 Dec 2016, 00:08 IST
Never played against sangar as a keeper otherwise he'd definitely be in! Boucher was a cracking keeper/batsman. Played spin v well https://t.co/K7isZIylt0— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) December 27, 2016