London, July 4 (ANI): England bowler Graeme Swann has declared himself fit and ready for the Ashes after fearing the worst when he took a hard hit on the arm from Essex quickie Tymal Mills.
Although Swann's Ashes dream had almost ended before it begun, he managed to break through the pain barrier to bowl more than 20 overs and grab five wickets in a futile 228-run win over Essex, but one that provided crucial match practice, the Mirror reports.
According to the report, England was dreading being without half their first-choice bowling attack at Trent Bridge next Thursday if Swann did not come through, especially after the news that Stuart Broad has had a cortisone injection in his bowling shoulder.
However, Swann assured that he is fine, saying that although he was worried about his arm at first when he got hit, it is feeling all right now, adding that he is not used to getting smashed by rockets, in a reference to Mills' bowling.
But, the spin king praised the Essex firebrand, saying that even though Mills is a bit fast for him and Tim Bresnan, he had bowled very well in the game, adding that Essex showed that they have a few youngsters coming through that are exciting prospects for them and English cricket.
Stating that he is happy with his form despite not bowling a sufficient amount of overs by this stage of the season due to back, calf and elbow injuries, Swann however, admitted that he did feel like he needed a long bowl in the middle, which he managed to do during the game against Essex.
The report further said that Swann stayed out in the middle and continued to bat because he could grip the handle, which is usually a good indicator of whether the bone is broken or not, although it added that shivers were sent through the dressing room when they saw the size of the bruising around the blow, and the spinner was immediately sent for a scan.
According to England coach Andy Flower, there were concerns about Swann as the team thought that he might have cracked his ulna, adding that the arm was badly swollen long after his batting stint ended.
However, Flower said that if Swann had been missing from the Ashes, it would have given some other bowler a chance, although he admitted that he was pleasantly surprised watching Broad bowl after reacting well to the injection. (ANI)