Swann: spat with KP did not cause 5-0

Stand-in captain brushes off talk of discord with Pietersen ahead of final match of a gruelling year

England have one more shot at redemption today.

Since they are the best Twenty20 side in the world their chances of leaving this tour of India with something to show for their efforts should be correspondingly high.

But there are other factors. For a start, they lost their most recent T20 match when chasing a paltry target of 113, against the West Indies at The Oval last month. That began an unfamiliar predilection for defeat that has continued unhindered in the one-day series here.

There is no question that the tourists have had enough, that many of them have been playing cricket uninterrupted for what seems like forever, that they are desperate for a break and that, whatever they say, this will affect them in the solitary T20 match at Eden Gardens today.

Conversely, several of the squad are young men for whom today's match is an opportunity to show that they should have enduring international careers. Graeme Swann, the captain in place of the injured Stuart Broad, insisted yesterday that a line had been drawn in the sand after the embarrassment of the 5-0 one-day series reversal.

"Sometimes a change is as good as a rest," he said. "Everyone's buzzing, everyone is looking forward to it. The spirit in the camp is still very high, which is unusual for a team who have lost 5-0. It's a young and resilient squad." India, buzzing a bit themselves, may take advantage of the youth and crush the resilience one last time.

Much of Swann's briefing was taken up with discussing his recently published book, The Breaks Are Off, and the comments he made about Kevin Pietersen. He said, albeit in a few sentences in a volume of more than 200 pages, that in his opinion Pietersen was never the right man to captain England and was not a natural leader.

Right or wrong (and probably right, but when Pietersen was appointed he looked the only man to some), that judgement has partly dominated this tour. The management has been at pains to deny that it provided the remotest reason for their annihilation and Swann concurred yesterday.

"My relationship with Kev is unchanged, it's fine," he said. "It's a story that people were trying to make that wasn't there. I have read about dressing-room disharmony and discord. Unfortunately, guys who are thinking that probably haven't got their finger on the pulse. It wasn't a distraction for us, it was a distraction for guys on the periphery, on the outside of the team."

But Swann's account of it pays no heed to the delicate balance within dressing rooms. Top-level sport is often about narrow margins (not that it applied in this ODI series).

It is why teams employ specialists, from psychologists to analysts, to give them an extra edge. Anything that detracts from that edge is potentially harmful. But Swann was not having it. "It has been a distraction to the press, it has not been a distraction to the players," he said.

"There are other reasons we lost 5-0. Even the most one-eyed journalist might be able to see that it was our deficiencies of bowling and batting on this trip that cost us the series not what the book said."

Pietersen and Swann have shaken hands on the matter, though not yesterday, it is to be hoped, because Pietersen has a fractured thumb that is likely to keep him out of the game. He had a thorough workout in the nets at Eden Gardens and though he never looked entirely comfortable, England will give him every opportunity to play.

It is England's 45th and last match of the year, which has included seven Twenty20s, 30 one-day internationals and a mere eight Test matches. Enough is enough.

Possible teams: England: GP Swann (capt), C Kieswetter (wk), AD Hales, IR Bell, RS Bopara, JM Bairstow, SR Patel, JC Buttler, TT Bresnan, ST Finn, JW Dernbach.

India: MS Dhoni(capt, wk), AM Rahane, RV Uthappa, V Kohli, RG Sharma, SK Raina, RA Jadeja, R Ashwin, P Kumar, RV Kumar, VR Aaron.

Suggested Topics
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
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

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little