As an experienced member of the England touring party Graeme Swann was a key
member of a team that was intent on retaining The Ashes down under this winter.

He was England's primary spin bowler and a crucial part of team England both on
and off the field.

However, instead of returning home after a successful tour Swann left the tour early after announcing his retirement shortly after England lost The Ashes after just three Tests.

Should he have stayed until the end of the tour and tried to turn round the fortunes of both himself and his ailing team and did he let his teammates and his country down?

With hindsight, and having watched England's humiliation first hand, I can't help but think that he deserted a sinking ship but that assumption does not take into account the problems that he clearly had.

Swann was one of England's great characters, so often he would be the one making jokes and clowning about. A latecomer on to the International scene, Swann firmly established himself as England's primary spinner.

His career experienced many highs, not least being part of a very successful England side
that became world number one. With 255 wickets, Swann is England's sixth most successful bowler of all time, which included 17 five-wicket hauls.

I have great sympathy for Swann and modern-day cricketers in general. Winter tours are long and draining.

A tour to Australia is perhaps one of the most gruelling in terms of length. England arrived in Australia at the end of October and, for those involved in the Twenty/20 matches, are still there now.

For those with families this can be mentally, as well as physically, draining.

Yes, England cricketers are surrounded by a huge team of back room staff who are there to help and they are also paid handsomely but that does not stop the downtime when players are susceptible to too much thinking time.

Cricketers are human beings after all but they are also in the spotlight 24/7 and sometimes
these pressures take there toll.

Now is the time to move on and accept Swann's honesty and celebrate his career for the success that it was. It was not an ideal ending to Swann's career but let's celebrate him for his achievements and wish him well for the future.

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#England cricket
#Graeme Swann
#The Ashes
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