Swann out to prove fitness

England v West Indies

ECBtv caught up with injury worry Graeme Swann ahead of the Barbados Test

Graeme Swann will put off surgery on his elbow to aid England’s cause in the Caribbean Test series.

Off-spinner Swann, who claimed eight wickets in the draw in Antigua, has been hampered by a recurring elbow injury but is confident he can get through the fourth Test at the Kensington Oval this week.

The 29-year-old has undergone intensive physiotherapy since the problem resurfaced on the penultimate day of the hastily-arranged contest at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

He had an operation on the joint in 2006 and although rest has proved a suitable remedy on occasions since, further surgery is inevitable.

Now he may have surpassed Monty Panesar as England’s first-choice spinner, it is now a tactical question of when.

“It is a long-term problem which I have had for the last two or three years,” said Swann. “It is bone that has fragmented off and floats around.

“Every now and again they go in the wrong place, it is very hard to manage because it indiscriminate when they decide to mess up my bowling.

“There are bits in there that aren’t supposed to be there that need taking out at some stage but unfortunately finding time to do it is a bit tricky these days.

“It will need an operation at some stage but I just don’t know when.

“It is certainly a case of managing it at the minute because with the intensive physio and work with the doctor over here it is easier to manage.

“Had it been back at my county where the physio is doing a lone job and desperately trying to get doctors to see you, it wouldn’t be as manageable or as easy to play.

“But hopefully it will be okay for the next couple of weeks.”

Having lost all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and wicketkeeper Matt Prior through injury and paternity leave respectively this week, England will want to avoid further disruption to their team as they seek to overturn a 1-0 deficit with two to play.

But the selectors will want assurances that Swann will not break down, as they appear committed to fielding a four-man attack.

Graeme Swann

Swann is confident he will be fit for the fourth Test after spending lots of time working with the physio

He did not appear to suffer any problem after bowling in this morning’s net session while Steve Harmison also charged in to quell fears of any serious damage in his back - he went for a scan yesterday after feeling discomfort but was given the green light.

Injury niggles have blighted the camp during this tour and Swann’s untimely pain arguably cost the tourists levelling the series last week.

“I just woke up on the fourth morning and couldn’t move my arm,” recalled Swann. “All kinds of things cause it to flare up.

“I did it once carrying a basket in Tesco, it had happened diving in the field and it is indiscriminate when it resurfaces.

“The fourth evening was almost unbearable, it was absolutely killing me but then the fifth day - I had had so much physio and a couple of injections - it felt great again.

“In my head I am pretty confident I can get through five days, it is just whether it is angry tomorrow.”

Swann has been well-established in England’s one-day plans since his international return in October 2007 but had not played a Test until earlier this winter.

However, he halted rival Panesar’s run of 27 consecutive matches for the third Test here and has taken the mantle of the country’s number one spinner.

“I have been bowling well for the last 18 months,” said Swann. “I am always going to be pigeon-holed as a one-day spinner even though my record is probably better in first-class cricket over the years.”

“Some people probably would put pressure on themselves because of being first choice. “But you don’t need to think ’oh God, the whole country is expecting now’.

“My mum has been telling me I am the number one spinner in England for the last 10 years, so that’s enough pressure for me.”

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