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Moeen moves up pecking order after Swann retires
11:00am Tuesday 24th December 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
GRAEME Swann’s retirement from cricket with immediate effect has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons.
As if England needed any other surprises during an Ashes tour that has seen them royally hammered Down Under.
But, given that the series has been lost with two Tests still to play, Swann’s timing might actually be for the good.
At 34, the spinner is past his best and, by stepping aside, it allows others to get a taste of Test cricket against world-class opposition in tough conditions.
James Tredwell and Scott Borthwick have already got the nod ahead of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
It could also open the door for Worcestershire’s Moeen Ali, who is with the touring party as part of the England Performance Programme.
While Moeen has missed out this time, with spinners Tredwell and Borthwick joining Monty Panesar in the squad, he has to move up the pecking order.
But the question is whether the selectors see the 26-year-old, reigning MVP and Worcestershire’s player-of-the- season, primarily as a batsman rather than a specialist spinner.
Moeen has evolved into a fine off-spinner for the County but it was with the bat that he excelled most last season, underlined with a career-best 250 against Glamorgan in June.
Swann’s retirement has certainly not done his chances of forcing his way into the Test set-up any harm.
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