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England courage is reaping rewards: Swann

By David Clough

Published 20/06/2015

England's Graeme Swann
England's Graeme Swann

Graeme Swann has urged England to stick with their new-found "courage" in one-day international cricket.

Swann has long been an advocate of a more attacking approach, and was deeply critical of England in preparation for what turned out to be an embarrassing World Cup campaign last winter.

They have since overhauled personnel and tactics, but kept the same captain in Eoin Morgan, and have matched World Cup finalists New Zealand shot for shot in a Royal London Series which stands at 2-2 with today's decider in Durham to come.

Three-time Ashes-winning off-spinner Swann has world-beating experience in white-ball cricket too - as part of the team which won this country's only global trophy to date, the ICC World Twenty20 in 2010.

He senses the early World Cup exit has at last provided the wake-up call which will help England play to their potential again.

Swann said: "It's so refreshing because it is like they have held their hands up and said 'you've all got a point'.

"Yeah, actually, tear up the old stats book, now we see what you mean we're going to go for it'.

"Everyone knew it was the most obvious thing in the world we were playing an outmoded, outdated form of the game.

"But (there was) the arrogance that saw us stick to our guns and say 'everyone is wrong' - and in that World Cup I think England got justifiably vilified, because they were so stuck in their ways."

England have passed 300 in all four 50-over fixtures against the Kiwis this summer, but Swann believes the key will be to stay true to the new methods if they backfire at any point.

"It will take courage to stick to it," he said.

"But they should take what New Zealand have done as a blueprint.

"There is no way on God's green earth we have a worse talent pool than any other country in the world - we've got these players who, if unleashed and given free rein, can be incredible one-day players.

"In Eoin Morgan, they have a good leader - because he genuinely couldn't give two hoots what the public are saying.

"If he thinks something is right he will go all out for it."

Jonny Bairstow has been called up to England's squad ahead of the fifth one-day international after Jos Buttler split the webbing on his left hand in practice on yesterday morning.

Bairstow has only eight ODI caps to his name, the last of which came against Ireland in the rain-abandoned fixture last month, which was his first appearance in nearly three years for England in the 50-over format. The 25-year-old, who has also made 14 Test and 18 Twenty20 international appearances, has been overtaken in the pecking order in all formats by Jos Buttler.

But Bairstow has been in electrifying form for his county this year, averaging 80.40 and striking two centuries in six LV= County Championship innings, and it was only earlier this week he stated his aims to make a return to the international fold.

''I think the way England are playing their cricket now suits my game,'' said Bairstow on Tuesday. "In the future I believe I definitely have a role to play, whether it be next week, next month or whenever and that's an exciting position to be in."

Belfast Telegraph

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