Swann urges calm after Ireland storm
Graeme Swann has reminded England of the need for perspective as they attempt to erase the memory of defeat to Ireland.
Kevin O’Brien’s staggering 113 off 63 balls condemned England to a three-wicket loss in Bangalore yesterday, in a game they looked destined to win after posting 327 for eight and reducing the Associate nation to 111 for five.
Andrew Strauss insists England’s World Cup is far from over despite the setback, and Swann reminded those who have written off their chances that one game does not a tournament make.
Asked if he thinks Ireland had dealt a telling blow to England’s prospects, he replied: “I don’t think so.
“Four or five days ago, the whole world was saying, ‘Oh my God, England can win this’, because we didn’t get destroyed by that invincible Indian team,” he added, a reference to last Sunday’s tie at the same venue.
“We know the fickle nature of the world, and we’re going to ignore that and just carry on and play the best cricket we can.
“I don’t think it’s a massive challenge now - it’s one game and it’s done and dusted.
“If we start panicking and thinking we’re the disgrace that half the people on Twitter thought we were last night, there’s no point in us playing.”
Swann’s 3-47 were conspicuously the most respectable figures among the England bowlers, but he could not prevent O’Brien racing to the fastest century in World Cup history, and propelling Ireland to the highest successful chase the competition has seen.
While Swann refused to overlook England’s shortcomings with the ball and in the field, he was fulsome in his praise of a player who struck 13 fours and six sixes, including two in succession off his own bowling.
“A couple of catches that went down cost us the game, coupled with something you could describe as wayward bowling,” Swann admitted.
“A lot of guys were peed off, and rightly so. It’s annoying in the extreme, but I’m not taking anything away from Kevin O’Brien and the performance of his life. It’s the best knock I’ve seen in a long time.
“Every now and again someone wakes up and has the best day of their life - and yesterday Kevin O’Brien did that. We should have bowled better; we certainly could have bowled better.
“You can always bowl better. When a guy hits that many sixes you are obviously putting the ball in the wrong place.
“We could have bowled more yorkers and more slower balls wide of the wicket; that’s easy in retrospect to say. When you’re in the middle and the pressure is on with a guy going great guns it can be difficult to think clearly.
“That’s tarnishing the knock he had. Personally I think he won the game rather than we lost it.
“It’s disappointing to lose any game of cricket. But it was one where we got ourselves into a position of such dominance and to then have it taken away from us is quite shell-shocking."
Ahead of Sunday’s Chennai showdown with South Africa, whose victory over the Netherlands today took them to the top of Group B, England would be well advised to remember their feat in matching tournament favourites India.
By contrast, Swann and his colleagues are attempting to banish the painful memories of yesterday’s defeat.
“The method is to completely write off the last game,” he said. “It’s not all doom and gloom, like everyone is saying.
“If a guy gets 100 off 60 balls, a guy gets 100 off 60 balls. There’s not a lot you can do, except say we should have bowled differently - and in the next game we will do.
“If we are going to win this World Cup, which we truly believe we can, we’ve got to go out and prove it, and we do that first and foremost in the field.
“We back ourselves to be professional and think clearly, so in future that’s certainly something we have to look at.”