Angry Swann leaps to captain's defence after media 'witch-hunt'


The Andrew Strauss Affair has brought out a touching facet of English cricket fans and possibly fans from much further afield. They have ganged up on those members of the meeja who would dare to question Strauss's right to be in the dual roles of England captain and opener.

Almost to a man and woman, it seems, they have supported his right to continue given his past heroic deeds. The social networking sites have been abuzz with comments in Strauss's favour and there is probably an appreciation society on Facetwit. This is their right.

But Strauss himself will be aware that a lack of runs, which has brought only one hundred in 48 innings, extended yesterday to 49, and 24 since his most recent, allied to a series of defeats, invites scrutiny. His innings yesterday did not see off the scrutineers altogether – only centuries do that – but it was significant in helping England to establish an extremely promising position in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

In this context, it perhaps helped that Alastair Cook also made runs. His unbeaten 77 was also his second Test half-century of England's winter and together the enduring first-wicket pair put on 122.

Had Cook gone early, Strauss's innings might not have looked quite so bonny. As it is, England finished the day trailing by 121 with nine wickets in hand. They have been in winning positions during this winter and lost but that should really not be the case here – though Strauss will presumably have one more innings before his winter is done.

Nobody in the England dressing room supports the captain with as much passion as the off-spinner Graeme Swann, who moved to 17th place in the country's Test wicket-taking list yesterday. It is poor Strauss who has to stand next to Swann at slip most days listening to the stream of genial outpourings. Swann perhaps recognises the debt.

"Everyone was rooting for Straussy who has come under what I consider very unfair criticism," said Swann. "He'll be kicking himself not to have gone on but he gave us a solid start and we're delighted with how it's panned out. What has been said is what I see as a witch-hunt, I think unjustified, but you couldn't tell from the way he carries himself. He has remained very laid-back and phlegmatic. He's the best captain in world cricket and a world-class opening batsman. I'm a strong ally and he'll get nothing but support from me."

That seems to be the consensus, proving that four defeats in Asia in the liabilities column hardly equate with two Ashes victories and six consecutive victories and a No 1 world ranking in the assets column. In many ways, that is a welcome change from the hang 'em and flog 'em brigades which usually form a disorderly queue at junctures like this.

But Swann, who was reading a book about Agincourt during most of Strauss's innings after taking four wickets in Sri Lanka's first innings, recognised that there was an issue to be discussed.

"I can understand scrutiny. When anyone's in a position, when things don't go well, pressure is building up. But he should be afforded leeway for what he has done in the last two to three years. No man is as capable of leading a team in world cricket.

"He's not in horrible nick, he's had good starts and it's just one of those things all players go through. His barren spell is a lot better than other people's has been and he'll be scoring hundreds before you know it." The 25th, or if that is not necessary, the 26th time of asking would do.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform