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!

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living