Graeme Swann plays down impact of spin on sub-Continent

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The Independent Online

Graeme Swann does not believe the hype that spin conquers all on the sub-Continent.

Swann, one of the world's best slow bowlers, returned to England colours - having arrived late at the World Cup following the birth of his first child - with figures of two for 35 in an opening Group B victory over Holland.

On a belter of a pitch in Nagpur, England picked only one specialist spinner but also called on Kevin Pietersen to bowl two overs of off-breaks.

The consensus is that they may therefore select slow left-armer Michael Yardy as well as off-spinner Swann in their next match - a high-profile encounter with India in Bangalore.

Swann will not mind that at all, but he makes it clear he does not necessarily subscribe to the premise that spinners will always hold sway in these conditions.

"Personally I'd always go in with two spinners anywhere in the world - because I'm a spin bowler and love having a spin twin at the other end," he said.

"But I think it is hit or miss in India with spin.

"People always say that spin plays a massive part, and wickets turn square over here.

"They don't. Against Holland there was a little bit of spin, but it wasn't huge."

Should England choose Yardy at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, batsman Ravi Bopara may be the unlucky man to make way - despite an unbeaten 30 which helped England scramble past the Dutch.

Either way, Swann is relieved he managed to find his range quickly after more than a month out thanks to the back injury which ended his one-day international series against Australia early.

"It's just getting back into the swing of things.

"From a bowling perspective, it felt great.

"It came out of my hand just as well as it had in Melbourne the last time I bowled.

"I'm delighted with that, because I've let the team down a couple of times before after a bit of a break and promised I wouldn't do it this time - so I'm glad I lived up to my word."

Swann perhaps should have had three wickets on Tuesday, but instead could only vent his frustration as Pietersen and James Anderson contrived to let a mistimed big hit by centurion Ryan ten Doeschate drop between them.

It was perhaps the most embarrassing episode in an uncharacteristically poor performance from England in the field.

"They both got the glare," Swann confirmed.

"When it goes 80 yards in the air and two of your best fielders stand and watch it land between them, it's never great as a bowler.

"But I can't really complain, because I dropped that high swirler near the end. Everything evens itself out.

"In every fielding display it is rare that one or two players don't have a bit of a stinker - but this time four or five did, and it becomes glaring.

"It's just one of those things - we're certainly not worried about our fielding.

"We know we're a good fielding team; we just need to make sure our concentration is up to the point where a performance like that doesn't happen again."