Swann hails Rashid's rapid progress

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Adil Rashid

Adil Rashid has stamped his mark on limited-overs internationals in 2009 with his impressive control

Graeme Swann believes his England spin partner Adil Rashid is second only to Shane Warne in history as an emerging leg-spinner.

With the pitch at Centurion slower than expected for the opening match of the tournament between South Africa and Sri Lanka, England might consider selecting both Swann and Rashid together at some point during the ICC Champions Trophy.

Swann is the senior man, having claimed England’s best figures against Australia in a one-day international last Sunday, but Rashid is being groomed for major events on the horizon like the 2011 World Cup in Asia.

“Adil is a long way down the line with leg-spin at 20,” Swann said. “He is probably better than anyone there has ever been bar one Australian fella.

“But he will admit he is nowhere near the finished article - he needs to develop, learn, and play more cricket basically.

“It is exciting for England just how good he is at 20. He could be exceptional at 25 and a world-beater by 30. Hopefully he will be.”

Swann was on the periphery of the one-day side when he last toured South Africa with England in 1999-2000.

The 30-year-old is now centrally-contracted, however, and suddenly one of the senior characters in a developing side in need of a turnaround following the 6-1 NatWest Series defeat to Australia.

“Momentum has been the buzz word all summer and strangely if we have managed to have a good last session in a day or in a game it has carried on,” said Swann.

“Hopefully having one good game in a seven-match series can lead on to this Champions Trophy. We have got to make a better fist of this tournament than that one-day series.

“But we live in a very pessimistic country and everyone thinks English cricket is rubbish again.

“Three weeks ago we were the best thing since sliced bread and no amount of one-day cricket could have taken the gloss off the Ashes for me.”

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