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Swann critical of 'crazy' England for 'muddled' strategy

Graeme Swann feels England were "crazy" to change their World Cup batting line-up at short notice - but still believes they can turn their tournament around.

Swann still thinks England can turn things around. Credit: PA

The in-form James Taylor was dropped down the order to number six to accommodate Gary Ballance's return in place of Ravi Bopara for the competition opener against Australia.

Defeats in that game and against New Zealand - the latter an eight-wicket hammering having been bowled out for 123 - have left Peter Moores' side with an uphill task to make the quarter-finals.

And former Three Lions spinner Swann told BBC Radio Five's Sportsweek programme:

I don't think the strategy's been clear. Every player hasn't got a clear and concise role. The Kiwis have been building up to this World Cup for four years and every player absolutely knows his role - Ashley Giles said that last night.

England changed their batting line-up the morning of the World Cup against Australia, Gary Ballance is suddenly brought back in, James Taylor's down to number six, Ravi Bopara taken out of the squad - that was crazy, in my book.

It's muddled, it's not clear. (Captain) Eoin Morgan wants to play a very expressive, aggressive form of cricket; I'm not sure Peter Moores completely agrees with that and I don't know how easily that relationship is going to fare.

But if they actually play well for the next four games - beat Sri Lanka heavily, destroy Scotland - if they do that, all this anger and emotion will disappear.

– England cricketer Graeme Swann

Watch Cricket World Cup highlights on ITV4 tonight at 10pm

Graeme Swann crashes on rally debut

Swann crashed his Ford rally car in Wales this morning. Credit: PA

Former England cricketer Graeme Swann suffered a nightmare racing debut when he crashed on the first stage of the Wales Rally GB this morning.

Swann enjoyed a remarkable international cricket career before retiring midway through last year’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash defeat in Australia.

He only had a few weeks to prepare for his first ever motor racing event, the final round of this year's World Rally Championship, and it's proving a difficult challenge.

Swann was at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta R2 in Gartheiniog on Friday morning when he flipped the car on a hairpin, but managed to recover and complete all four stages.

“No glass left, wearing goggles," he said after crashing. "Having a whale of a time.”

“To be honest your skills as a cricketer are completely wasted when it comes to driving a car,” he continued.

"But I'll do anything if someone offers me the opportunity. And anyone in my shoes who got offered this and turned it down would be mad."


Swann blasts 'low forms of journalism' over gran quotes

Recently-retired England spinner Graeme Swann has attacked "some low forms of journalism" for "preying" on his 90-year-old grandmother.

Mina Swann's comments to Newcastle's Journal newspaper were widely quoted in the English and Australian media.

Pietersen distances himself from Swann's comments

England batsman Kevin Pietersen talks to the media on Tuesday. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

England batsman Kevin Pietersen refused to be drawn into the Graeme Swann story on Tuesday and distanced himself from speculation suggesting the retired bowler's team-mate remarks were referring to him.

"I'm not giving any energy to what happened yesterday," he said at a press conference ahead of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne.

"The only energy that I've got on this tour left in me is for Melbourne on the 26th, training today, training tomorrow and Sydney.

"My interest levels in yesterday are less than zero."

'Very clear' Swann wasn't 'slagging off' England

Sky Sports Cricket broadcaster Ian Ward has tweeted that former England spin bowler Graeme Swann was not talking about his team-mates in recent remarks criticising international cricketers.

Ward conducted an interview with Swann on Tuesday.

Swann: My comments were not about Pietersen

Graeme Swann and Kevin Pietersen share a joke. Credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

Retiring off-spinner Graeme Swann has stressed he was not talking about Kevin Pietersen - or any of his former England team-mates - when he described certain players as "up their own backsides".

Swann, who announced his retirement from all forms of cricket over the weekend with immediate effect, was careful to name no names when he used the description, but it was widely interpreted as being about players in the England team.

With media and former players pondering who he could have been referring to, the 34-year-old replied via Twitter to one of them - 2005 Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan - to correct the misconception, and on Christmas Eve further clarified his views in his column in The Sun.

Swann wrote: "I wasn't talking about Kevin Pietersen or any England player when I made comments during my retirement press conference.

"Myself and Kev have had a very good working relationship and his reintegration back into the team has been spot on.

"The truth is I was talking about other players around the world who don't carry themselves in a manner I think is befitting of wearing an international shirt.

"With hindsight, I should have clarified there and then that I wasn't talking about England players, rather than leaving it hanging in the air."


Swann's gran blames retirement on 'nasty' Aussie

Graeme Swann announced his retirement from Test cricket over the weekend - with two matches remaining in Ashes series. Credit: REUTERS/David Gray

The grandmother of Graeme Swann has blamed the England spin bowler's sudden retirement from Test cricket on a "certain" Australian player, claiming something "nasty" must have happened.

Speaking to The Journal in Newcastle, Mina Swann, 89, said the home side must not have made England feel welcome.

"There is something gone wrong there and I blame the Australian players. Not all the Australian players, a certain one," she said.

“When the team went down to Australia and that young lad came back, there was something going wrong then."

She added: "I do not think they have been (made) very welcome, the team. He is not easily upset, there is something nasty happened.”

Swann to Vaughan: 'Don't jump to conclusions'

Graeme Swann has told his former England captain not to "jump to conclusions" after Michael Vaughan claimed Swann's post-retirement comments were a mistake.

Michael Vaughan replies to Graeme Swann's swipe

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said he agrees with former team mate Graeme Swann that "some players are getting ahead of themselves", but inferred the timing of his comments was a mistake.

Swann: 'Making stuff up sells papers I suppose'

Graeme Swann has attempted to distance himself from a report in The Telegraph which alleged the retiring cricketer had made a "barely disguised swipe" at his fellow English cricketers.

Swann took aim at the journalist who wrote the story, saying "making stuff up sells papers I suppose".

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