With regular skipper Stuart Broad set to miss the double header against the West Indies next week with a shoulder injury, England have turned to the Nottinghamshire twirler.
“I was desperate to phone my mum and dad up a couple of nights ago, but I couldn’t,” he said. “That’s been the hardest thing for me over the last 48 hours - keeping it to myself.
“Andy Flower asked me a couple of nights ago at the ICC dinner whether I’d step in as the interim captain while Broady has his bad shoulder.
“You’re always very honoured when things like that happen, and I’m no different. It was a little bit of a surprise. But if truth be told I’d looked at the likely squad and thought ‘I might have a chance here’.”
Swann’s jovial and self-deprecating manner has made him a hugely popular personality amongst his team-mates, but he acknowledges he’ll have to adopt a slightly more conservative approach in his new position of enhanced responsibility.
“I’m very much the joker in the Test side,” he said. “I’m there for a stupid quip at the end of the session – that’s part of my role.
“But that’s a very settled side, with everyone knowing their place. With this Twenty20, I’d naturally have to be more grown-up and mature about things anyway.”
In the absence of Broad and his fellow shoulder injury victim and official vice-captain Eoin Morgan but also the rested Kevin Pietersen – and no return yet to the shortest format for one-day international captain Alastair Cook – there is a decidedly youthful look to England’s group of Twenty20 hopefuls.
Swann said: “It’s obviously a case of being fairly mature in the changing room, because we’ve got a few young guys who’ve not played before and need to have at least a semi-sensible role model to look up to.
“But I’ll be looking to still inject my own brand of energy into the team, and hope that will come off.”