Swann finally sets his alarms for debut

When hearing that they have been picked to make their Test debut most cricketers applaud the role of their parents and coaches, and talk about all the hard work they have put in to reach this momentous point in their career. Graeme Swann, bar any last-minute drama, will become the 641st Test cricketer to represent England this morning when Kevin Pietersen's side finally lines up against India here but the confident off-spinner puts his rise to the top down to something rather different, namely having two alarm clocks on his bedside table.

Swann, 29, has the air of a man who has been around for a while. The tag of senior pro, a figure in county cricket that has seen and done the lot, sits quite well on his shoulders. And Swann would probably have attained every cricketer's dream – a Test cap – much earlier but for a few indiscretions on his first tour with England in 1999-2000. Swann was 21 at the time and like many young cricketers who do not feature in the Test side, he enjoyed himself in South Africa. His joie de vivre did not go unnoticed by the England management and their patience all but broke when he missed the team bus one morning. Since that fateful day he has taken extra precaution so that it does not happen again.

"I now have two alarm clocks, which you need when you have the nasty combination I have on tour – finding it hard to fall asleep and then wake up in the morning," said Swann with a mischievous smile. "My timekeeping was an issue (behind me continually being overlooked) and it didn't help that I missed the team bus one morning when we had a bloke [Duncan Fletcher, the previous England coach] in charge who was pretty strict on discipline. With that I made a rod for my own back and I can have no complaints."

During Fletcher's reign – 1999-2007 – England used six different spinners and Swann was not one of them. In an attempt to change his image he moved from Northamptonshire to Nottinghamshire and learnt his trade. He learnt how to behave too. And it was only when Peter Moores replaced Fletcher that Swann returned to the England fold. "Yes, I wrote my England career off a few years ago,"said Swann. "So it's great to have this opportunity now. I am delighted to be in the team. My negativity came from the fact that everyone who seemed to have the potential to bowl spin in the world was playing ahead of me, and when that happens you tend to think that your number was up.

"I didn't think I'd play for England in any form, so it was great when I got called up for the one-dayers 15 months ago. It was frustrating when I got called up for the Test tour of Sri Lanka and didn't play, but I knew that if I had a half-decent summer with Notts then I would have the chance to get out here where I would more than likely get a game." Swann, like each of England's bowlers faces a huge challenge over the next fortnight. Spin is bound to play an important role in the series but England's slow bowlers have had a mixed time in India. Before the 1980s England's spinners had a pretty good record here but since then they have found it tough going against an endless line of wonderful batsmen.

"Playing here doesn't daunt me," said Swann. "If anything it would be more daunting back at home because the wickets don't traditionally suit finger spinners. Spinners tend to have more of a say in the game over here. I'm just looking forward to playing; I think I'd be a lot more nervous if I was making my debut back home on a flat belter at The Oval. I don't expect the ground to be as packed as the one-dayers but it would be nice if 50,000 people turned up to watch Sachin Tendulkar bat and they left to go home after a couple of balls because he didn't get any runs."

Swann, wisely, did not suggest that he would get the "Little Master" before being asked whether he was really as confident as he appears. He replied: "Every man who appears confident on the outside is shitting like a big dog on the inside." With that he returned to his team-mates. The England and Wales Cricket Board yesterday confirmed that the second Test between India and England will take place in Mohali. A final decision had been delayed until up to date security reports had been made. Hugh Morris, the managing director of the England team said: "We are satisfied with the security plans that have been put in place and are looking forward to the second match being played there."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
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

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable