Swann prepared to go to Pakistan
Graeme Swann has had enough experience of England’s security measures to be confident he and his team-mates will be kept safe if their ICC Champions Trophy trip to Pakistan goes ahead.
Swann and international hopeful Samit Patel have made it clear they will be prepared to travel if England tour next month.
Both players were speaking after the International Cricket Council confirmed the tournament will take place as scheduled in a country which has been rocked by political violence in recent months.
Swann admits it is a “tricky” decision – but he feels he has little choice but to override the advice of friends and family and trust in the experts, for the good of his own career.
With only 12 one-day international caps under his belt at the age of 29, having made his debut eight years ago, Swann knows he cannot pass up any opportunity lightly to play for his country.
He is encouraged by his own recollections of the measures put in place to protect the players during last winter’s tour of Sri Lanka, another country where violence can erupt.
“In Sri Lanka last year there were bombs going off while we were there,” he remembers.
“But you did not feel threatened by it – because you have got the security detail, and the army give you escorts.
“I’d certainly trust what [ICC security expert] Reg Dickason says – after spending some time with him – so I’ll have to wait and see what he says.”
Swann and the remainder of those in the provisional Champions Trophy squad are likely to discover the ECB’s decision after ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has travelled to the UK to try to calm the fears of players and board.
It is then that the off-spinner may have to make a call which will go against the emotional pleas of his nearest and dearest.
“It is obviously tricky – because if you are in a position like me, having only played a dozen or so internationals, you certainly worry about giving your place up and not winning it back,” he said.
“Inside me, I think I would not have a problem; I’d trust in them – but then your family is saying you must be crackers and your girlfriend is saying, ‘I don’t want you to go’.
“That’s when you start thinking, ‘Hang on a minute’.”
Patel, meanwhile, is – like his fellow Nottinghamshire all-rounder – ready to trust the judgment of administrators and their security advisers.
Yet to win an England cap but perhaps on the verge of international recognition after being called into the Lions team at the age of 23, Patel’s mind is already made up.
“I’d be happy to go to Pakistan, that’s for sure,” he said.
“When the decision is made to go I am sure security will not come into play – because at that point, they should already know that it is safe to go.”