Former England cricketer Graeme Swann continues to be so even in his post-playing days. One of the greatest off-break bowlers England have ever produced, Swann recently picked his all-time World Cup XI and guess what, he chose himself to lead it! “It’s my team; I am in it!” the excited 40-year-old said while conceding that there are names that could have been before him in that XI.
Swann, who was picked by the England Cricket Board in England’s greatest ever Test side last year when the Three Lions played India in their 1,000th match in the longer format. The spinner played 60 Tests between 2008 and 2013 and picked 255 wickets at an average below 30 and has 17 five-wicket hauls. He was a member of the English teams that won three consecutive Ashes series.
Coming back to picking his all-time World Cup XI, Swann went with compatriot Ian Botham and former Australia wicket-keeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist to open the innings. At No.3, he chose the West Indian great Viv Richards and then followed him up with Sachin Tendulkar at No.4.
Swann continued to constitute his strong side by picking World Cup-winning Australian captain Ricky Ponting at No.5. At No.6, the former cricketer picked another legend – Imran Khan – who he said had single-handedly won Pakistan the World Cup in 1992.
The next one was a surprise. Though he conceded that he would be in at No.6, yet Swann picked former Sri Lankan batsman Aravinda de Silva at No.7. De Silva scored a match-winning century in the final of the 1996 World Cup against Australia in Lahore.
Shane Warne and Graeme Swann are the two spinners
Shane Warne, who Swann called the greatest bowler to have played the game, found spot No. 8 in the side. And then the big one! Swann picked himself at No.9 and expressed jubilation as a kid saying he would take all the freedom to change the bowlers and batsmen since it is his own side.
For the final two positions, Swann picked king of swing Wasim Akram, who he remembered had dashed the World Cup dream of his own country in 1992 and then he wrapped it up with Glenn McGrath at No.11. Swann said many would think that Muttiah Muralitharan should have been ahead of himself in the side and he thought it was a right call in cricketing terms. But since it was his own XI, so Swann took the opportunity to give himself a game, that too as the leader!
Graeme Swann’s All-time XI
Ian Botham, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Imran Khan, Aravinda de Silva, Shane Warne, Graeme Swann (c), Wasim Akram, Glenn McGrath.