'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
Thursday 28 March 2013
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."
Chelsea in Thailand: Eden Hazard offered 'free hug' as Jose Mourinho meets a familiar face
Revealed: The most unwatchable Premier League teams of the 2014/15 season
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget that fateful day in Belgium
Paul Scholes column: With Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
- 1 'Cheeky' Nando's under fire for apparently coming onto a customer on Twitter
- 2 Playboy model April Summers speaks out about being a victim of revenge porn
- 3 There is something wrong but very right about this Bible illustration
- 4 iPhone 'effective power' text: how to be safe from iOS bug that lets people crash your phone
- 5 Man jumps into bear pen at zoo, fights bear and loses
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote