Swann has a refreshing attitude

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 14, 2010 09:02 hrs
Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar

There have been some fine performances in the last week both in Tests as well as limited overs internationals played in various parts of the world. Australia played the West Indies in the third and final Test at Perth and South Africa played England in the first Test in South Africa and India and Sri Lanka played each other in one-dayers in India. All the games had heroes from each teams though of course only a few of them were in the race for this week’s accolade.

In Australia in a match which was ill tempered at times and isn’t it strange that it seems to happen when the Aussies are not doing well, the heroics of Gayle and company was overshadowed by the suspension of Suleman Benn  for reacting to provocation. There was some good cricket too as Australia batted brilliantly and then Gayle came in like Force 1 and blew away the Australian attack to get a quickfire century. Then Doug Bollinger came to the party for the Australians and bowled with great heart to take them to a narrow win.

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Talking of party, if there is one cricketer in the world who gives the impression that he is having one as he plays for his country it is Graeme Swann. A few years back,  we are told, he was dropped  because his attitude was not in keeping with the then  coach's approach to the game. He persevered and got back in the team and apart from his off-spinners for which he is primarily in the team his free spirited batting has swung many a game away from the opposition. Moreover the delight he takes in playing the game is so infectious that he is never far away from a smile or a quip even when appeals off his bowling are turned down by the umpires.

It is such a refreshing attitude in an era that has been spoilt by abusive behaviour by some teams who then take refuge in  that as playing hard cricket. Swann not only picked up wickets for England but when they were in real trouble in the game he came in and played a swashbuckling innings to get them close to the South African total when at one stage it looked like the hosts would take a big first innings lead. That innings  made sure that South Africa had to bat for a long time in the second innings and that gave England some breathing space though they nearly muffed it up in the second innings too.

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There were some terrific performances from the Indian and the Sri Lankan batsmen as they are enjoying playing on good pitches against not so great bowling. Tharanga, Gambhir and Kohli have got hundreds and have been hugely entertaining  but this week’s CEAT International Cricketer of the Week is Graeme Swann for his all-round performances in the England - South Africa first Test match.

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