Graeme Swann fears elbow problem could rule him out of Ashes

England spinner does not want to miss out

England spinner Graeme Swann fears his troublesome elbow could cost him a chance to face Australia in the Ashes - either on home soil in the summer or in the return series later in the year.

Swann, about to begin a three-match Test series in New Zealand later today, does not want to miss out on what he believes could be his final two Ashes series.

"We are embarking on arguably England's greatest year of Test cricket ever and I can't wait for the back-to-back Ashes series. But I have one big worry - the state of my right elbow," Swann wrote in his column in The Sun.

"It caused me discomfort again during our only warm-up match before tonight's First Test and I had to leave the field.

"I'll be honest, the elbow is always a concern. It's been hanging over me for several years and, despite having an operation in 2009, the problem hasn't entirely gone away.

"It would be a massive pain in the backside if my wonky elbow forced me to miss any of the Tests against Australia. I'm absolutely determined to be available for what might be my final two Ashes series - and that means managing the elbow as well as possible."

When Swann underwent surgery in 2009 the surgeon had to leave some fragments of bone in place because of the proximity to the nerve.

"This year of all years, I don't want the elbow to cause any problems. I want to be fit for as much Test cricket as possible and, fingers crossed, I will be."

England face a busy summer of cricket with the back-to-back Ashes series at home and away the highlights.

PA

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