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Broad would have made a great Test captain after Cook – Graeme Swann

by Yas Rana
@Yas_Wisden 4 minute read

Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann believes Stuart Broad would have made an excellent Test captain after Alastair Cook resigned from the role at the beginning of 2017.

Speaking on the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, Swann claimed that his former teammate Broad would have been a smart option for the role. “I think Broady would have been a great man for the interim at the time Joe (Root) was made [captain],” said Swann. “He would have been a very good Test captain, but England won’t do it because he’s a bowler.”

Swann, a long-term opponent of the idea of Root as Test skipper, explained why he always thought that it was a risk appointing the team’s best batsman as captain. “I certainly wouldn’t sack him because England have lost two Ashes series, that’s not going to achieve anything,” said Swann the day after Australia retained the urn.

“And when I say he shouldn’t be captain, I love Joe. Brilliant player and I loved spending time with him playing. I’m not saying he didn’t deserve to be captain. He was our best player, we’re English, we make our best player captain. That’s how we do it.

“It very seldom turns out well. The biggest names who’ve been made captain – Botham, Flintoff, Pietersen – all absolute flops as skippers because it took away from their natural game.

“At the time I remember saying, just because he’s the best bad fit, it doesn’t make him the ideal candidate, because of what it’d do to his overall output, which is basically what makes England tick. Australia have proven in this series that if one player, a world-class player, has a stellar series, he can win the Ashes.”

Root’s batting statistics since he took over captaincy back up Swann’s argument. In 32 Tests as captain, he averages 40.87 with the bat as opposed to 52.80 from 53 Tests as a regular player.

While Swann thinks that Broad would have been a good captaincy candidate in 2017, he doesn’t think that the 33-year old pace bowler should be appointed at this stage of this career. Rather, Swann wouldn’t be opposed to a Mike Brearley-esque captaincy figure – someone who might not be among the best 11 Test cricketers in the country, but someone with a clear vision of how the Test team should be play.

“This Test team doesn’t have anything like as clear a way of playing the game (as the ODI team),” said Swann. “It would be very easy to say ‘right, we’re going to pick a captain, and say this is how we want to play.’ If it means getting a Mike Brearley in, a non-world class player, and ask, ‘what would you do here? We’ll pick the six most boring, obstinate batsmen, and we’re going to play an old-fashioned game.’

“If you come up with a clear ethos of your way of playing the game, then I think a captain will emerge from that, rather than say ‘let’s get Broady to do it for a couple of years because there’s no viable alternative.’”

Graeme Swann is a Betfair Ambassador.

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