Tue, Dec 24, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Swann denies criticizing former teammates

AP, MELBOURNE, Australia

Graeme Swann has denied that comments he made while announcing his retirement from Test cricket were a criticism of his England teammates.

Swann made the surprising announcement that he had decided to retire immediately on Sunday, despite there being two Tests left in the ongoing Ashes series, which Australia have already won.

In comments to English reporters, Swann said: “Some people playing the game at the minute have no idea how far up their own backsides they are. It will bite them on the arse one day and when it does, I hope they look back and are embarrassed about how they carry on.”

Swann has since said he was not referring to any current members of the England team.

Former England cricketers Michael Vaughan and Derek Pringle, now both in the media, were among those who questioned what they saw as Swann’s decision to publicly raise reservations about his fellow players.

On Twitter, former England captain Vaughan said: “This tour for England was already a disaster... Now it’s a bloody joke. As a respected senior player in the dressing room Swannyg66 why didn’t you sort players out who got too big for themselves?”

Swann responded on Twitter, saying his comments were not directed at current England players.

“Don’t jump to conclusions Vaughney,” he said. “I wasn’t talking about the England dressing room or anyone in it. You too bbc.”

Swann directly attacked Pringle, saying: “just because Derek Pringle writes something I find it astonishing that people buy into it?! Making stuff up sells papers I suppose.”

“Swann could have made it clear that he was not talking about England but didn’t,” Pringle replied.

Swann’s use of the term “people playing the game at the minute” led to speculation that his comments related to current players.

Former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne quickly placed himself in Swann’s corner, suggesting he had made the comments in the hope of firing up an England team facing a 5-0 series defeat.

“It’s an emotional time for Graeme,” he said. “And hopefully that was a way to lift the guys and say: ‘Come on, pull your heads out and let’s finish the tour on a high.’”

Spinner Monty Panesar, who will take Swann’s place in the England lineup for the Boxing Day Test, defended his former teammate.

“We know Swanny, we know where his heart is — he’s right behind us and we’re right behind him,” Panesar said.

Meanwhile, England announced that Durham leg-spinner Scott Borthwick and Kent off-spinner James Tredwell have been added to the squad.

Borthwick was due to arrive into Melbourne yesterday and will be available for selection for the Test on Boxing Day.

Tredwell is to arrive in Melbourne during the fourth Test and will be available for the final Test in Sydney from Jan. 3.

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