Off-spinner Swann to make debut against India

December 10th, 2008 - 5:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Dec 10 (IANS) England off-spinner Graeme Swann is all set to make his debut in the Test match against India here Thursday.The 29-year-old Swann will debut a full nine years after he was first picked for the England squad.

Announcing the England line-up for the first Test, skipper Kevin Pietersen said he believed the pitch at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium would assist spin and hence the decision to include Swann.

Swann would be bowling in tandem with the established left-arm spinner Monty Panesar.

The off-spinner was first included in the England team in 1999 for a Test against touring New Zealand, but was dropped from the eleven. Later, he toured South Africa and again remained in the reserves for the Test series, but made his international debut in the ODI on the same tour.

“Swann is ecstatic and it is a big moment for him. I believe the pitch might assist spin and so decided to pick him. He gives us an attacking option,” said Pietersen.

The England captain also said that batting first would be an obvious choice for the team if he wins the toss.

Asked whether the bounce and carry will persuade him to bowl first, Pietersen said: “I am clear about that (batting first). If we get a chance, we will bat first; if we are not sure, we will still bat first and if we are not sure at all, we will still bat first.”

On his own captaincy that was heavily criticised after the 5-0 drubbing in the ODIs, he said: “I like tough situations and it has been tough all my career considering where I came from.”

He was referring to his move from native South Africa to England after failing to break into the national team. Pietersen then switched his allegiance to England on the basis of his English mother, a move that earned him brickbats from South Africa.

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