The Light Roller: After a (light) roller-coaster year will anyone follow Graeme Swann onto solid ground?

Diary of a cricket obsessive

Swann but not forgotten

The Light Roller is nothing if not occasionally almost right. Last week's 3-point plan emphasising the need to find Graeme Swann's long-term successor is a case in point. The fact that the whole process would be underway by now remained, alas, unanticipated.

Swann will be missed enormously, although the Ashley Giles era showed that a team can prosper without a brilliant spinner provided that the balance and atmosphere is right. In that respect, the emergence of Ben Stokes may be fortuitous.

The timing of Swann's departure is, whether brave or not, certainly curious and it will be interesting to see whether any of his team-mates follow suit at the end of the series. His great pal James Anderson might be the most likely candidate, although he should feel confident of at least one more English summer.  As for KP, who knows?

 

England must avoid post-Warne conflict

Scott Borthwick's progress last season was impressive. If he can prove his bowling is sufficiently incisive to take regular test wickets then, like Stokes, he could bring balance to the side with his strong batting.

Spinning all-rounders are rarer than Monty Panesar catches. England haven't had a genuine one since Ray Illingworth. Considering that the physical strain of spin bowling is generally less severe than fast bowling, that may bear out the notion that being a spinner is psycologically more difficult. Spin is art; seam is rough trade.

Whether Borthwick will be brought into the side during this series remains to be seen. There are certainly strong arguments for giving him more time to develop (though all old leggies will be desperate to see him in action). But the last thing England want is to spend years chopping and changing in the search for Swann's ideal replacement: just look at Australia post-Warne to see how disruptive that can be.

 

It's transition, but not as we know it

All in all it's been a bit of a rum year for England. They went from zeroes in New Zealnd in March to heroes over the summer and are now very firmly on the floor again.  Jonathan Trott and Graeme Swann, absolute mainstays of the team a year ago have departed the stage. Players have been discarded (Compton) or suffered significant losses in form (Finn, Prior) and the captain looks downtrodden, however superficially upbeat his words might seem.

This, perhaps, is the lot of international sporting teams. Transitions can be painful. Yet the odd thing about England since the retirement of Andrew Strauss is that they have been a side in transition without anyone seeming to know what kind of team they are trying to become. The contrast with South Africa is instructive. 

Of course, it is to be hoped that England would not have played out two maidens when needing just 16 from nineteen balls to win a test, as South Africa did against India on Sunday. Then again, on current form England wouldn't have found themselves on 442 for 7 in any innings of a match, let alone the fourth.

 

 A team for the New Year

As we roll towards 2014, hoping desperately that England avoid an Ashes whitewash before surprising everyone by winning the World Cup, it seems festive to have a go at naming England's twelve(ish) man squad for next summer's first test against Tendulkar-less India. Who knows, TLR might get some selections almost right...

England XII vs India, Trent Bridge, July 9 2014

Alistair Cook

Alex Lees

Joe Root

Kevin Pietersen

Ian Bell

Jonny Bairstow

Ben Stokes

Scott Borthwick

Chris Jordan

Stuart Broad

James Anderson

Tymall Mills/Reece Topley

 

Happy Christmas one and all!

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Extras
10 best table lamps
indybest
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week