There weren’t many who predicted the sheer size of the spinning void that Graeme Swann would leave when he retired from international cricket, such was the charming nature that the 35-year-old had when he was taking Test wickets for fun.
But his retirement, which coincided with a severe slump in form for Alastair Cook’s side, has left England looking less and less likely to win a five-day game, without the presence of a frontline spin bowler.
Unsuccessful trials have been attempted with the introduction of Simon Kerrigan and Scott Borthwick in consecutive Ashes series but neither were able to hold down a Test spot.
However, the Lancashire left-arm spinner has been recalled for the upcoming encounter with India at Lord’s.
But aside from Kerrigan, who else can England now turn to? It has become evident in the first three Tests of this summer – against Sri Lanka and India respectively – that relying on the part-time bowling of Moeen Ali and Joe Root isn’t enough to win matches.
In international cricket, it is important to possess a player who can mop up wickets with ease on a turning pitch late into a match.
At present, Peter Moores is charged with discovering someone who can do just that in the Test arena.
Contenders are out there, hoping that they can do enough in the County Championship, or for England in limited-overs cricket to warrant further Test caps, and here is a countdown of the top five potential England frontline spinners.
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