Swann: Don’t blame Cook for Ashes disaster

RETIRED spin bowler Graeme Swann defended England captain Alastair Cook last night, admitting no-one could have inspired the squad to victory this winter, such was their collectively low performance levels.

England endured the third whitewash in Ashes history, with the team only exceeding 300 runs twice in 10 innings. Problems on the field were coupled by disruption off it, as key batsman Jonathan Trott left the tour prematurely citing a stress-related illness, while Swann retired following the third Test.

England have since also lost the one-day international series 4-1 leaving Cook to question the merits of remaining captain in both formats. But, Swann feels the Essex opener is not to blame.

“No man could have captained us this winter, there is not a captain on Earth,” he said. “We were terrible.

“Cook should keep doing the job he was doing beforehand, not panic about what has happened and just get everyone together and think how are we going to go about scoring big runs again.”

Batsman Kevin Pietersen’s stay in the team has also been debated, as much for his behaviour in the dressing room as at the crease, but Swann is adamant there was no disharmony in the squad.

“It might surprise people to hear the changing room was not divided,” he said. “He’s [Pietersen] had his moments in the past, but since coming back from his ‘reintegration’ he’s been much improved.”