'I want to be back soon because I am bored stupid already' - Graeme Swann

Graeme Swann is on the road to recovery after elbow surgery forced him to miss the New Zealand tour. He tells Jon Culley how the machine in his attic may help England win the Ashes

The England off-spinner Graeme Swann says he is so optimistic about making a full recovery following surgery on his troublesome right elbow that he believes he could be ready to resume his international career in time for the opening Test against New Zealand on 16 May.

There had been fears that the 34-year-old Nottinghamshire player might struggle to be ready for the Ashes series in July, but his rehabilitation work is progressing so well that he has pencilled in his county's four-day match against Durham, beginning on 29 April, as his comeback date.

Swann underwent his second operation on the elbow in America two weeks ago but, after subjecting himself to a day-and-night programme of mechanically induced extension exercises, he is on course to halve the normal recovery time.

"This machine I have to attach myself to is agony for the first week – it brings a tear to your eye," he said. "But that's stopped happening now, it feels great so it's definitely going in the right direction.

"I'll be badgering the physios and coaches here at Notts to let me bowl as soon as possible but they're the ones with qualifications to tell me when and where I can.

"I'd hope to be bowling competitively by the end of April. I don't know whether that's optimistic or not but that's how my mind works. I want to be back as soon as I can because I'm bored stupid already.

"The machine is at home in the attic room that I'm banished to every night. I've still got to wake myself up every couple of hours to do 50 minutes on this machine. It was quite handy while the Test match was on because I could watch that but now it's finished it's very boring.

"It's very important, though, because the machine keeps the range of movement in your arm and it aids your rehabilitation and it's supposed to halve the time you get back bowling."

If his return to action with Nottinghamshire results in no setback, Swann would be in contention for the opening Test against New Zealand at Lord's, having missed the away series against the same opponents.

He says the thought never seriously crossed his mind that the injury might spell the end of his England career after 50 Tests and 165 appearances overall, during which he has become England's most prolific off-spinner.

"It didn't really," he said. "The surgeon assured me it was a straightforward operation compared with my first one and it should be a matter of time before I'm bowling again.

"Last time, the operation was far more serious, but the recovery was so great that I've got every faith in the surgeon. I went for three and a half years bowling relatively pain-free. It was a lot more straightforward this time, basically just correcting little things that have gone wrong since then.

"Bowlers always have niggles here and there, and because of my elbow different parts of my body start taking over and aching, and that was one of the signs in New Zealand that something was wrong because all of a sudden I was getting a sore back and shoulder and all sorts of things, all down to the fact that the elbow wasn't working. Now it's cleared out all the other things should be all right.

"I think I could bowl now but I'd probably put myself back to square one. So the next couple of weeks are solely about fitness and getting my base levels back up to where they should be, and then I'll start bowling again.

"If I start back and there's any pain whatsoever I'm sure I'll want to play it fairly safe. But I'm not a conservative bloke by nature.

"I think it's going to kill me if I sit down and watch so much cricket at the start of the summer without being an active part of it, so I'll certainly be trying to be back fit and playing as much cricket as I can. I'd like to get a couple of games in for Notts before any England cricket starts so that's what I'll be aiming for."

Swann overtook Jim Laker as England's most successful Test off-spinner during the series in India that preceded the New Zealand tour and now has 212 Test wickets. Yet he claims he has a desire to add to that tally.

"The hunger's still strong to play Test cricket," he said. "I love the game, so I think I'll play for as long as the body can stand it. Whether that will be for 12 Test matches or 112 we will have to wait and see – but John Emburey played until he was 41 so there is hope for me yet."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home