Cook: Swann will be missed hugely

England

Captain Alastair Cook has admitted the absence of spinner Graeme Swann will test England's resilience and depth, come the fourth Ashes Test, which will get underway at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday.

Captain Alastair Cook has admitted the absence of spinner Graeme Swann will test England's resilience and depth, come the fourth Ashes Test, which will get underway at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday.

The 34-year-old Swann, who had been an integral part of the squad since debuting in 2008, retired from international and first-class cricket with immediate effect last week.

The uncapped Scott Borthwick has been called up as a replacement, while the inexperienced James Tredwell will join the squad before the final Test in Sydney, but left-armer Monty Panesar is expected to be drafted into the XI.

"Graeme has had a fantastic career. He has been an integral part of our success, both on and off the field," said Cook. "He is going to be missed hugely. But he just knew this was the time.

"He had given his all in the England shirt and can be very proud of his achievements. He can also take great credit for the way he managed to bring that more relaxed atmosphere to the team.

"I played a year or two before he came into the England team, but I noticed straightaway he made people enjoy playing cricket for England maybe more than when I first started."

Swann's retirement two matches before the end of the series, which the tourists have lost in the wake of heavy defeats in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, has copped plenty of criticism. Cook, however, offered the alternative.

"I think it is a very brave decision for him to do it now, in terms of what he is giving up and everything that goes with playing for England," he added.

"But I think he knows deep down, after speaking to him, he had no more to give – and he didn't feel he could perform to the standards that he set for himself."

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