ENGLAND’S talismanic off-spinner Graeme Swann admits to being flattered by the praise heaped on him by legendary Aussie bowler Shane Warne.
Swann has taken 113 wickets since bursting onto the Test scene and is now rated the second best bowler in world cricket ??– with only South Africa’s Dale Steyn above him in the pecking order.
Many observers, Warne included, believe Swann’s performance with the ball will determine the outcome of the upcoming Ashes series.
Swann, 31, is delighted with the compliments but regrets he’ll never get the chance to show Warne first hand how much he’s improved since they last met on the field of play.
“I was rubbish when I played against him five years ago,” Swann said. “I was just dwindling away in county cricket. I wasn’t good enough to perform at Test level.
“It’s good he remembers me in the first place because I didn’t really give him any reason to, and he recognises I’ve been bowling well recently.
“It’s very nice when people say that [I hold the key], especially the best bowler in the world ever.”
Swann, who took five wickets in England’s first warm-up match against Western Australia, and the rest of the touring party now head to Adelaide where they will face a South Australia side in a three-day game which starts on Thursday.