KP: Swann void must be filled
Kevin Pietersen believes Alastair Cook and England could be in for a tough summer against India if they do not find a way to cope without Graeme Swann.
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The off-spinner retired midway through last winter's disappointing tour of Australia, leaving England without a front-line slow bowler as they prepare to face a side accustomed to the challenges of facing spin.
Swann was a veteran of 60 Test matches, during which time he took 255 wickets - quite the contrast to England's current spin option of Moeen Ali, a batting all-rounder with just three Test and 143 first-class scalps to his name.
Cook has come in for criticism recently over his captaincy and Pietersen reckons Swann made his job, and that of previous incumbent Andrew Strauss, far easier.
"Alastair Cook struggles to captain the side when opposition batters become established because he cannot toss the ball to Swann, who could defend and attack in equal measure," he wrote in his column in the Daily Telegraph.
"Swann made Andrew Strauss' captaincy look good and he made Cook's look good, too, by making crucial breakthroughs when the opposition were threatening to take the game away.
"It was down to Swann's genius, and not tactical masterstrokes.
"The Indians respect Swann hugely, they think he is a fantastic bowler and I know they are licking their lips about facing any other English spinner who bowls to them."