England have struggled during the entirety of the tour of Australia, failing to match expectations and coming up short on almost every occasion.
Completely outplayed by the hosts in the first three Ashes Test matches, the Aussies reclaimed the urn much to the embarrassment of the visitors Down Under.
However, England managed to salvage some pride in the recently concluded fourth Test, which ended in a draw after a brilliant double hundred by Alastair Cook.
Spin bowling has been a major let down for the England squad, with Moeen Ali being the spearhead of the attack in that department.
ECB have considered their options in the past in handing the responsibility to a diligent professional to coach the team in the spin department and bring in fresh young talent through the ranks into the senior squad.
Graeme Swann is one name who has been viewed by the cricket faithful as a competent individual to carry out the responsibility, although Andrew Strauss thinks otherwise.
The former England captain, currently serving as the Director of Cricket for England since 2015, had a dramatic telephonic conversation regarding the subject with Swann himself in the late summer of 2016.
Swann revealed insights of the short discussion with Strauss, who opted for Saqlain Mushtaq ahead of the retired Englishman.
The off-spinner who represented England in 60 Tests, securing 255 wickets, wrote in his book about the incident: “Strauss phoned me up and said, ‘Look Graeme, it’s about time we spoke about this off-spin position’.
“My face lit up. I hadn’t put a great deal of thought into being a coach. I didn’t know whether it was something that would suit me. But in those few seconds I felt a sense of purpose returning.
“He added, ‘What do you think of Saqlain Mushtaq?’ I was crestfallen. I said, ‘Are you serious?’ and he relied, ‘Yes Saqlain, what do you think?’
“I said, ‘I think he’ll be great mate’ and put the phone down. I thought I was being asked to bring on the next generation of England’s spinners and they’d gone for Saqlain instead.”
The 38-year-old has always been open to a spinner consultancy role with England and thought he was on the cusp of landing the top job, only for Strauss to dampen his spirits back then.
Mushtaq was appointed for 100 days which concluded after the second Test in Adelaide and he returned home after his short stint.
Swann laments the opportunity that went by, but after a disappointing all-round display by England, Strauss might still re-consider his decision and give the Brit the role he has coveted for long.