Graeme Swann urges England to be ‘ultra aggressive’ against Australia

Graeme Swann feels England can clinch a third T20 World Cup with “ultra-aggressive cricket” but acknowledged Saturday’s fixture with Australia already falls into the must-win category.

Rain came out on top on Tuesday when England started their title defence with an abandoned clash with Scotland after only 10 overs were bowled in Bridgetown.

A sloppy display in the field by England raised fears of another underwhelming showing after they crashed out of the 50-over World Cup in the group stage to increase scrutiny on captain Jos Buttler and head coach Matthew Mott.

Progression from Group B into the Super 8 stage is still firmly in the hands of England, who could potentially lose to Australia and still finish in the top two, but 2010 World Cup winner Swann urged the group to get back to what made them great under ex-captain Eoin Morgan.

“I think England can win it,” Swann told the PA news agency.

“On paper they are a very strong team, arguably the strongest team in the world, but their performances in the 50-over World Cup has made everyone feel a bit down about it.

“I think they need to forget about that. It is a different format. Go out there, play ultra-aggressive cricket and beat the Aussies.

“Realistically if you don’t win this game, then you’re relying on other results to go your way and because it’s Australia, it is a massive game for England.

“It’s a must-win game and I think it should inspire the team. I hope they go into it with a very aggressive mindset and not tentative at all.

“I think we were tentative in the 50-over World Cup but we never were under Eoin Morgan so I think we need to get a bit of that back.”

This tournament brings back good memories for Swann after he helped England win the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean 14 years ago.

Similarities can be drawn between the class of 2010 and Buttler’s current crop, according to Swann.

He likened England’s explosive top-order to his old team-mates of Michael Lumb, Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen, while Jofra Archer and Mark Wood provide threat with the ball like Stuart Broad and Ryan Sidebottom did.

In leg-spinner Adil Rashid, England have the world’s best T20 bowler and Swann called on the squad to play with a smile on their face over the next month.

Swann added: “We won it in 2010 and I can tell you that was an amazing tournament. The first ICC white-ball tournament that England had ever won and I am very proud.

“It was amazing to be a part of and we can repeat that. This team is arguably better on paper than our team were.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by ICC (@icc)

“Sidebottom and Broad were amazing with the new ball and we did a job, me and Mikey Yardy, as the spinners in the middle.

“Then our batters, Kieswetter, Pietersen and Lumb, that aggressive top three put us in a mind space that we were winning every game.

“As soon as we bowled first, we knew we were chasing anything down and it was a very strong team.

“I just remember playing with a massive smile on my face all the way through.

“If I could give any advice to this England team, it would be to go out there and really enjoy it. Play with a laissez-faire attitude almost and with a big smile. I think we’ll get the best out of them if we do that.”

Stream all the live action from England vs Australia in the ICC T20 World Cup on Sky Sports with a NOW Sports Day or Month Membership. On demand highlights also available.