Swann confident ahead of New Zealand clash

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The Independent Online

England finger spinner Graeme Swann has the utmost respect for his fellow exponent Daniel Vettori - but that does not mean he or any of his team-mates will be wary of the New Zealand captain today.

Vettori's team potentially stand between England and a place in the semi-finals of the ICC World Twenty20.

But even if South Africa beat Pakistan in today's first Super Eight match at the Beausejour Stadium, England need only avoid a wide-margin defeat against the Kiwis at the same venue to make sure they progress to the last four.

For Swann, there is also the chance to measure himself against the bowler he sees as the best in the world of his type.

"I admire any finger spinner in world cricket, because it's the hardest job in the world," said Swann, in his usual ironic good humour about his own trade.

"It's obviously easier for left-armers; us right-armers really have to fight tooth and nail to get a bowl half the time.

"But Dan Vettori is the best one-day spinner in the world.

"I'm not a great man for looking at figures. But you don't need to; you watch him bowl - his change of flight, pace and everything is second to none.

"But we won't go into the game worrying about him; we'll go into it looking to target him as well as the other Kiwi bowlers."

Swann and slow left-armer Michael Yardy once again proved the worth of spinners in this Caribbean tournament, by taking five top-order wickets as England trounced South Africa at Kensington Oval on Saturday.

They did so with the help of Kevin Pietersen, who left for England within hours of winning that match to be at the birth of his first child in London.

Pietersen is expected back in time for a semi-final on Thursday or Friday.

Swann conceded: "It's obviously a loss not to have Kevin for the next game.

"But after winning these last two, it probably makes it a little bit easier."

In any case, he is confident that in Ravi Bopara England have an ideal man to deputise for their mercurial number three.

"We've got Ravi to come back, who in this form of the game can be as destructive as anyone - even Kev.

"He'll come in and stake a claim to be involved. If we qualify for the semi-final he'll want to get a spot in it.

"It's obviously disappointing to miss Kev. But I think everyone in the squad understands why, and we're 100% behind him."

As for his spin partnership with Yardy, Swann is increasingly impressed with the contribution of the Sussex captain.

The pair simply work out how they are going to operate beforehand, and then put it into practice to significant effect.

"It's so noisy here, so you can't have a conflab (on the pitch) - and I can't understand a word he says in his West Ham accent," added Swann.

"We don't talk on the field. It's all done beforehand. We go out there knowing exactly what we've got to do, who to do it to, and when to do it.

"He certainly doesn't say anything to the batsmen; he gets on with his game. He just runs up and does his job.

"I'm sure he's annoying to a few batsmen at the minute, because he keeps getting them out."