London, May 29 (ANI): The English media has touted England off-spinner Graeme Swann as being 'virtually irreplaceable' in the set-up of the team ahead of the Ashes and is the last man that England would like to be indisposed before the Ashes.
Although spinners are not supposed to prevail at Headingley, Swann took 10 wickets in the Test match against New Zealand, the first English spinner to do that since Derek Underwood in 1972, and walked away with the Man of the Match award in the series, which England won 2-0, the Guardian reports.
Although the report said that England is in good shape at the end of this mini-series against New Zealand, Swann is the last man that England would like to be indisposed before the Trent Bridge Test as his potential replacements may not be adequate.
Stating that England needs to surround Swann by cotton wool before the Ashes, the report said that even Monty Panesar, a potential replacement should Swann be injured, is far less effective than Swann against left-handers, four of which are in the Australia top-six, adding that he has never possessed anything of Swann's innate canniness.
Calling the probable scenario of Swann being unavailable as 'nightmarish', the report said that England might well turn to another off-spinner in such case, citing try James Tredwell as an example, who, however, has currently has his hands full in his first season as Kent's captain and is yet to take a wicket.
According to the report, unlike most of his predecessors, Swann is prepared to gamble by bowling a little wider of off-stump, which lures batsmen to score runs, thereby frequently falling into their doom, for which he is integral to the Test side even more than the one-day side for the ICC Champions Trophy. (ANI)