|Swann made few ripples|
|Written by Hemant|
|Thursday, 09 December 2010|
One of England's Adelaide Ashes heroes, Graeme Swann, was more of an
ugly duckling when he came to Christchurch to play a season of club
cricket in 2002-03.
Swann, 31, helped spin England to a 1-0 series Ashes lead at the Adelaide Oval earlier this week, his career having soared in the past few years.
Yet when he came to Christchurch to play for Old Collegians as the club professional he hardly ruffled feathers.
Swann bowled barely a handful of overs during his nine matches, with minimal success. He was more notable with the bat, scoring a century (115) in one of his five one-day outings. In one-dayers he scored 212 runs at 42.4 and in the four two-day matches he scored 171 runs at 24.72. He bowled just 10 overs, taking one for 56, in one-day matches and had just one over in a two-day game. He returned home halfway through the season.
The Old Collegians coach at the time, former Black Caps mentor David Trist, recalled Swann as being a player of promise but yet to realise his potential.
"He was relatively young then and I think it was good for his development to make the trip out here and get some experience with his overall cricket education."
Trist recalled that Swann was quite an individual and heard he butted heads with disciplinarian coach Kepler Wessels at Northamptonshire before moving on to Nottinghamshire in 2005.
Swann's skill was recognised early when he was called into the England squad for a home test against New Zealand in 1999, but he did not play.
It was a lengthy wait until his test debut against India two years ago. He took two wickets in his first over and his fortunes have taken flight since, with his test record now 122 wickets from 26 matches at 27.23, 10 five-wicket bags and one 10-wicket haul.
Swann is not the only young professional to have played in Christchurch and gone on to represent England, with Darren Gough and Dominic Cork (both East-Shirley) and Aftab Habib (Riccarton) playing here.
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