England Team Director Andy Flower has backed Graeme Swann to play a leading role in the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval.
Flower conceded that the Brisbane pitch didn’t suit Swann’s style in the drawn series opener but had no concerns about his performance.
“He didn’t get a lot of help from the pitch in Brisbane but hopefully in Adelaide he’ll get a bit more,” said Flower.
“To be honest I think some of the expectation heaped on him has been a little over the top. He is a very fine bowler and a great competitor but we shouldn’t expect him to take five-wicket hauls all the time.
“His first innings figures, he went at about three an over and got two wickets. That is no disaster at all but I think people were viewing it as such.
“I think we should keep our expectations a little lower than they have been recently.
“He might seem very light-hearted and jovial but at the same time underneath there is a very strong competitor and very experienced campaigner.
“I think he can handle whatever is thrown at him.”
Swann is the only cricketer to have been shortlisted in the top ten for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. A public vote will select a winner from Swann, Mark Cavendish, Jessica Ennis, Tony McCoy, Lee Westwood, Tom Daley, David Haye, Graeme McDowell, Phil Taylor and Amy Williams.