Cricket World Cup 2011

Swann won't blame schedule

2011-03-15 07:21
Graeme Swann speaks out about England in the World Cup. (AFP)

Chennai - Graeme Swann has said a congested England fixture list was no reason for the side's stuttering World Cup campaign, as they prepared for a make-or-break clash against the West Indies on Thursday.

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England came into the event on the back of a gruelling Ashes tour - where they defeated Australia 3-1, but were then thrashed 6-1 in the one-dayers - and had just a three-day turnaround before heading out to the subcontinent.

"We do live in the middle of a ludicrous cricket schedule, but it's no excuse," said England off-spinner Swann.

"For a start half the other teams in the world follow a very similar schedule, which I feel is equally as ludicrous, but I'm certainly not going to turn around and say that's why we're not playing well and whinge and worry.

"A modicum of perspective says that we're in the most privileged position going. An earthquake and tsunami has just killed thousands of people in one part of the world (Japan) and in New Zealand.

"If I was to sit here and say 'oh my God these five-star hotels and all this travel', it's our job. It's our lot.

"If it's an issue then the only option is to retire from international cricket and go and play county cricket.

"It's very hard to do day in and day out, but that's what we strive for because we have to. It would certainly be easier if we played 20 less games a year, those games that nobody cares about.

"It would probably make things a bit easier and keep the standard of world cricket higher, but I'm not on the ICC (International Cricket Council) committee and it's my own personal view, not that of the team," Swann stressed.

Defeats by Ireland and Bangladesh have left England needing to beat the West Indies at the very least and then hope other results go their way if they are to reach the knockout stages.

"When we go one up in a Test series we tend to have a stinker before pulling out all the stops to play our best cricket," Swann explained.

"It's been the same in one-day cricket, and it's something we have to do now otherwise we're back home."

There is a widespread view within all sections of English cricket that, having won the Ashes, England have achieved their primary goal of the 2010/11 season and that the World Cup simply does not matter as much.

But Swann, recalling his hurt as a 10-year-old watching England being beaten by Pakistan in the 1992 final, was adamant the players cared about this event.

"Anyone who points a finger at this team and says it just doesn't give a toss and wants to go home, I would take serious umbrage with," he said.


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