Former England cricketer and their most successful spinner Graeme Swann feels that the major reason behind England not producing qualty spinners at the Test level is the wrong coaching that is imparted to them in their formative years.
Graeme Swann recently appeared on the ‘Anaylst: Inside Cricket’ Podcast, where he elaborated on issues that young England spinners face. Swann said that he is keen to pass on his immense knowledge and experience to the current and future crop but is miffed by the fact that his services have never been utilized.
“They don’t bowl to hit the stumps; they bowl to get outside edges. If they spoke to the right people they could correct that. Bowling straight (with DRS) was a massive weapon for me,” Graeme Swann was quoted as saying by ‘The Cricketer’
“England off-spinners are taught to hold the ball wrong – between the front knuckles of index and middle finger. That’s codswallop. They’ll never really spin it or get drift bowling like that. They should hold it between index finger and back knuckle of middle finger and really flick it (see images below). It gets far more revolutions,” he explained.
“Then they can come over the top and land it on the seam and make it turn, but also it only needs a tiny adjustment to release the ball slightly later and come underneath and it comes down like a flying saucer and might turn but is more likely to go straight on,” Swann elaborated.
“That’s a great ball, especially against left-handers. I got taught that by [former Australian off-spinner] Ashley Mallett. No one in England had ever taught me that. I have never seen a young spinner in England since try to bowl it or understand it. It’s very simple to bowl and very hard to pick. It hurts, you have to really squeeze it out, and you get a great big hole in your knuckle. But it’s worth it for the spin you impart.” he added.
‘We won’t win in India without a proper specialist spinner’- Graeme Swann
England’s current first-choice spinner is Dom Bess but Graeme Swann said that he has never had a face-to-face interaction with the young spinner.
“I have never worked with him. The only time I’ve spoken to him was on a Zoom call on Sky Sports with Rob Key. He bowls a lot in straight lines – he sort of pushes it out,” Swann said.
“Off-spin should be bowled coming across your body, like an outswinger action. All off-spinners should be able to bowl a decent away swinger. Bess gets two or three balls right every so often and pitches it perfectly. But it’s an almost an accident. It’s not hard to fix. He just needs to change his body position and alter his arm height and come right across his body and he’d spin it twice as hard as he does now.” he added.
Swann and Monty Panesar were one of the major reasons behind England beating India in India after a gap of 28 years in 2012.
Swann said that the major reason behind his and Panesar’s success was that they never listened to the coaches in their formative years.
“I never listened to coaches growing up. They were wrong. The reason Monty (Panesar) and I did so well in India in 2012 is because I never listened to coaches and Monty never understood coaches. We won’t win in India without a proper specialist spinner. Spin is not a part-time occupation. English cricket has to get away from that mentality if they hope to move forward with bowling spin or batting against spin,” he said.
“I am miffed that I am not involved. The second you finish playing is when you’re most valuable as a coach. You know the game, the players intimately. If Jimmy Anderson finishes playing and they make him coach Lancashire’s second team to get his stripes that will be the biggest crime in the world. Arguably as soon as I finished, I should have been asked to coach the spinners. That was when I was most relevant, knew the players and the game inside out.” Graeme Swann signed off.