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."

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
football
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
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

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering