Ashes 2013-14: Graeme Swann reveals he retired from England because he no longer thought he was good enough

The spin bowler quit midway through the disastrous tour of Australia

Graeme Swann has defended his decision to leave midway through England’s tour of Australia, admitting he could not continue playing because he no longer believed he was good enough.

The spinner faced the wrath of commentators, former players and fans alike when he announced his immediate retirement after England’s surrender of the Ashes was confirmed following defeat in the third Test at the Waca.

The tourists went on to suffer a 5-0 whitewash at the hands of the Australians, with Swann’s decision to quit all forms of cricket cited by some as a factor in making the tour the worst by an England side in Ashes history.

Swann, speaking on Monday night’s Not Just Cricket show on BBC Radio 5 Live, admitted that it looked bad to walk away when he did but could not accept some of the criticism levelled at him.

“I understand the fact that we lost and it looked like I was jumping ship,” he said. “I’d have loved to have been part of the last two weeks, but once I said to Andy [Flower, the coach] that I can’t do the job, he said, ‘Well, we have to get someone else in then’. I can’t just stay on holiday for two and a half weeks, ferrying drinks around and patting people on the bum saying, ‘Keep going, lads, chins up’. That would be lovely, but to walk away from it all was the hardest thing to do.”

The 34-year-old, who is England’s sixth-highest wicket-taker with 255 in Tests, said he had expected the captain, Alastair Cook, to drop him for the third Test, such was his poor form going into the match, but having been selected, Swann soon realised in Perth that the game was up.

“It was very hard telling Cooky in the first instance, because he’s such a good mate. He spoke to me before the Perth game. He called me downstairs, and I fully expected to be dropped after the way I played in the first two games.

“And I’d come to peace with that, I was fine with it. But he said, ‘I need to know you’ve still got the fire in there, and you can still go out there and really fight for me’, and I said, ‘Of course I have. I’ve got the fight, whether I’ve got the skill any more is another thing, but I’ll fight my nuts off for you.’

“After the Perth game, I proved to myself during that game when Shane Watson was hitting it at will for six and I was powerless to stop it, how could I possibly carry on when I know that I can’t do the job I’m paid to do any more? Can’t put enough spin on the ball to have enough control to worry good batsmen any more.

“So people saying, ‘You should definitely have carried on playing’, I just don’t understand that. If someone has come to the realisation that they’re not good enough, why would you want them to keep playing?”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor