ENGLAND spinner Graeme Swann admits it would have been “curtains” for his career if he had not agreed to abandon the current Test series in New Zealand in order to undergo another round of elbow surgery.
Swann was desperate to avoid a repeat of his 2009 operation to remove floating fragments of bone from his bowling arm, but was forced to act after the problem flared up in a tour match last week.
The 33-year-old, who has missed just three of 53 England Tests since making his debut in December 2008, insists he expects to recover from next week’s procedure in ample time for this summer’s home Ashes series.
“I was trying to go through my whole career without needing surgery again, but the specialist came back and said something needed to be done,” said Swann, who has a fear of general anaesthetics.
“So be it. It’s a huge year for English cricket and a huge year for me, so if this means taking a more active part in it then it’s something I have to do.
“I know if I don’t have the surgery it’s more or less curtains. I’m assured the surgery is relatively simple. So, touch wood, it will be and I’ll wake up on the other end, and everything will be great.
“I’m buoyed by the success last time I had it done, and my elbow was in a lot worse shape then than it is now. I’m very confident I’ll bounce back in a short space of time.”
Swann is to go under the knife of the same specialist, Shawn O’Driscoll, who last month operated on England seamer Tim Bresnan’s own elbow injury.
England replaced Swann with Monty Panesar for the first Test, which saw no play on the first day due to bad weather, and called up James Tredwell as cover.
Nottinghamshire’s Swann is expected to return to England duty in the “early summer”, an England statement said, with the Champions Trophy in June and the Ashes due to start on the familiar turf of Trent Bridge on 10 July.
England’s frontline spinner, Swann has claimed 212 wickets in his 50 Test appearances at 29.13, as well as weighing in with 1,176 runs at an average of 23.52.