Tag Archives: phoney

Graeme Swann winds up Australia Test man Ed Cowan

Swann strikes first blow in the phoney Ashes war by winding up Cowan

Peter Hayter


22:33 GMT, 27 April 2013



23:03 GMT, 27 April 2013

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Graeme Swann appears to have won the first skirmish in the pre-Ashes phoney war by duping Ed Cowan into believing the spinner and fellow Nottinghamshire team-mate Stuart Broad have been ordered by England not to bowl to the Aussie opener in the county's nets.

Cowan, named in the 16-man Ashes squad to face England, has begun a seven Championship-match stint for Notts, played alongside Broad against Derbyshire and will link up with Swann against Durham tomorrow when the off-spinner returns after the elbow surgery that forced him to miss England's Test series in New Zealand.

Having a laugh: Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann

Having a laugh: Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann

But Swann may have some talking to do first as Cowan seems to have fallen victim to his notorious sense of mischief.

The spinner has claimed he and Broad have been instructed by Test coach Andy Flower not to give the Aussie any chance of a sighter in the nets or in the middle, particularly as the first Ashes Test is at Nottinghamshire's Trent Bridge ground.

Discussing criticism of counties giving Aussie players the chance to acclimatise to English conditions and England bowlers using a Duke ball, Cowan said: 'I can certainly see that point, but I can also see the other side.

'The fact is that it's an Ashes year, so, sure, there is some benefit for me, but there is some benefit for Swann and Broad as they get a pretty intimate look at my batting.

'They're not allowed to bowl at me in the nets. It's a bit of a joke. We're getting on famously, but I'd have thought that knocking me over a few times in the nets might plant a few seeds…'

Asked whether he knew the source of this instruction, Cowan insisted it had come from the England management. But Notts coach Mick Newell denied any such order and revealed the whole thing was a Swann wind-up.

Cowan knows how humour can backfire, as he has still not spoken to Kevin Pietersen over the 'Puddinggate' row in the last Ashes tour Down Under.

Wound up: Ed Cowan

Wound up: Ed Cowan

In his critically acclaimed diary, In The Firing Line, Cowan recounted that South African-born Pietersen could not identify the bread-and-butter he ate during lunch in England's match against Australia A in Hobart on the last Ashes tour.

When Cowan told Pietersen he should recognise the dish as it was typically English, Pietersen responded by joking: 'I'm not f***ing English. I just work there.'

The joke turned sour when the comment was used to cast doubt on Pietersen's loyalty.

Despite trying to contact Pietersen to clear the air, Cowan has still not talked to him directly and he now admits he wishes he had not included the story in his book.

'The KP thing was said as a joke and it got blown out of proportion,' said the 30-year-old. 'I was disappointed and I'm sure he wasn't thrilled. I think it was a good line all the same.'

One thing about which Cowan is deadly serious, however, is what he calls the defining moment for him and his team, the upcoming Ashes series, which, after their 4-0 defeat in India, he claims will be the making or breaking of many careers.

Cowan was among those who expressed concerns over aspects of 'team culture' to coach Mickey Arthur before the issue came to a head with three players, including vice-captain Shane Watson, dropped for failing to do their homework. Cowan knows the consequences of failure.

'I wasn't some sort of tell-tale,' he said. 'There were about six people saying: “Right, is this where our culture should be heading”

'You lose a lot of intellectual ability when players like Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, and even someone like Justin Langer, the batting coach, leave in pretty quick succession. It's not just batting and bowling, it's culture.

'Some things are trivial, like lateness to meetings; some aren't so trivial, like general attitudes of not going out of your way to making sure that the team is your absolute priority.

'It showed a lot of courage. It was the day the coach and captain put their heads on the block. They said: “We are going to cop some flak, but we are all in this together.”

'It was saying – if we're going to win the Ashes, we need to be solid around all these core values.

'If we lose these back-to-back Ashes series, you will see a change of personnel and management.

'But the other side is that if you can win an away Ashes series, then it is a defining moment for this team.'

Shane Warne wades in to Kevin Pietersen row

Warne wades in to Pietersen row by accusing ECB of 'ego' over Twenty20 snub



21:00 GMT, 26 June 2012

Shane Warne has fired the first psychological shot of Australia's mini-tour by attacking England's treatment of Kevin Pietersen.

Warne believes it is 'ridiculous' Andy Flower insisted on sticking to the terms of Pietersen’s contract by banishing his star batsman from England’s Twenty20 team once it became clear he was determined to retire from one-day internationals.

'It staggers me,' said the Australian legend ahead of the five-match one-day series that begins without his great friend Pietersen at Lord’s on Friday.

Test specialist: Kevin Pietersen (centre) no longers plays ODIs for England

Test specialist: Kevin Pietersen (centre) no longers plays ODIs for England

'It’s just a bit too much ego for my liking from the ECB. I’m very surprised they didn’t say “OK Kevin, we know you want to balance your career and family commitments, we would love you in the one-day side but if you just want to play Test and Twenty20 cricket that’s great”. To me it’s a huge loss.'

Warne may be engaging in the custom of staging a phoney war whenever the old enemies meet but he did offer a valid comparison with Australia’s handling of captain Michael Clarke.

Top Spin

‘Michael gave up Twenty20 because he couldn’t play in all formats but could you imagine Australia dropping him from the one-day side I don’t think the ECB have shown any common sense.'

Warne is a big fan of Clarke, who has overcome the doubts of much of the Australian public to prove himself a worthy successor as captain to Ricky Ponting in the Test and 50-over formats.

'I love the way Australia are being captained,' said Warne. 'There’s a resurgence in their form across the board and they’re playing an aggressive brand of cricket. Michael has a lot of imagination and is very good tactically.'

But Warne believes England are favourites for this NatWest series, a battle he sees as an appetiser for next year’s back-to-back Ashes contests, even though Australia are still ranked No 1 in the world in 50-over cricket.

England's nemesis: Former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne

England's nemesis: Former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne

‘It’s hard to go past England at the moment,’ he said. ‘They have won six successive one-day series at home and have just bashed up West Indies. They are playing conservative one-day cricket, building a solid foundation with Cook, Bell and Trott at the top of the order and then exploding in the middle, but everyone is different and it’s working for them.’

Clarke scored 76 against Essex on Tuesday before retiring in his side’s 313 for nine. In reply, Cook was out for five, after slashing at a wide Clint McKay delivery.

Meanwhile, former England captain Tony Greig has accused the Indian board of running international cricket to suit itself.

In his MCC Spirit of Cricket lecture at Lord’s, he said: ‘Much of the game is controlled by the BCCI because it controls enough votes to block any proposal put forward at the ICC board meetings.’

He pleaded with India to ‘lead cricket by acting in the best interests of all countries’.

Shane Warne is commentating for Sky Sports during an unrivalled summer of live cricket.