On the Front Foot: Swann is a phenomenon but he is playing to different rules

In Graeme Swann's dramatic rise to the top of his profession the role of leg before wicket has played the most prominent role. Of Swann's 62 wickets, no fewer than 26 have been lbw. At 42 per cent of the total, this is a considerably higher proportion than any other bowler in the game with more than 50 Test wickets. In second place on 34 per cent (that is 58 of his 170 wickets) is the Australian swinger Terry Alderman. Swann has been aided and abetted by a much more flexible interpretation of Law 36 (about time too), his ability to get drift and turn while attacking the stumps, and the decision review system which will play an increasingly significant part in the conduct and outcome of Tests. To compare Swann to other England slow bowlers is to conclude that they must have been playing to different rules. After 14 Tests he already has the third most lbw victims. Other off-spinners include Jim Laker, who had 32 lbw victims in his total of 193, Fred Titmus (23 from 153), John Emburey (16 from 147), Ray Illingworth (12 from 122) and David Allen (nine from 122). No fewer than 37, or 59.7 per cent, of Swann's victims have been left-handers. Benedict Bermange, the Sky Sports statistician, points out that no bowler with more than 40 wickets has dismissed left-handers for more than half of them. Small wonder that when England coach Andy Flower was asked if Swann would have got him out, he replied: "Yes, probably, and probably lbw."

Sky's the limit for Beeb

As the BBC limbers up to screen Test cricket once more, presumably under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (section nine, protection of other species), figures have been produced to show what it is up against. In 2009 Sky showed 3,501 hours of cricket, including 263 days of live cricket. In only one week, 11 to 17 October, was there no cricket coverage. That must have been the week that Sky Towers in Isleworth was marched on by cricket fans demanding a fix. The 228 live games included 29 Tests, 60 one-dayers and 63 county matches (there will be 69 next year). There were also 12 women's matches. The BBC has its fans but it must show a proper commitment to the game. Anybody could get excited about an Ashes match at Lord's; try a damp night at Chelmsford in September.

Strauss is captain marvel

Andrew Strauss has some record to sustain at Newlands this week. He has lost only two of the 19 Tests in which he has been captain. Of the 31 who have been captain in more than 10 matches, only Douglas Jardine, who led in 15 matches, has lost fewer.

Allen's record still spinning

David Allen, mentioned above, was a key part of England's last victory at Durban, in 1964. He took seven wickets in the match, including 5 for 41 in the first innings, still the best figures by an England off-spinner at the ground – one record, then, that Swann has not annexed.


voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes