Darren Lehmann and Nathan Lyon have praised Graeme Swann despite the England spinner retiring mid-tour.
ENGLAND is poised to make up to three changes to the team that meekly surrendered the Ashes in Perth last week.
Left-arm tweaker Monty Panesar will be rushed from Sydney grade cricket back into the fray after Graeme Swann’s shock retirement on Sunday.
But as the tourists went through a demanding first training session at the MCG on Sunday, two more switches became distinct possibilities.
Graeme Swann has retired from cricket. He has had a fantastic career. He’s played 60 tests since his debut as a 20-year-old in 2000. Tim Abraham of Sky Sports speaks to Sarah Jones about the ramifications and Swann’s career.
Jonny Bairstow, who has batted well in limited opportunities on tour, was heavily involved with the gloves during fielding practice and took additional practice after the main session, appearing to try to familiarise himself with the backdrop of the giant stands.
With regular wicketkeeper Matt Prior going through the batting horrors and coming off a bad Test with the gloves in Perth, a change to bolster the feeble England middle-order seems likely.
And Stuart Broad was badly hampered by the foot injury he suffered when hit by a Mitch Johnson missile at the WACA Ground.
A late bloomer in Test cricket, Graeme Swann soon cemented his position as England’s number one spinner after making an immediate impact on the world stage.
Broad clearly looked in pain and it would be a huge surprise to those who watched him hobbling if he could recover sufficiently before Thursday.
This leaves the path clear for another non-English player to pull on the navy blue cap for the first time with Northern Ireland-born Boyd Rankin the most likely replacement.
Rankin, who has played all bar five of his 42 one-day internationals for Ireland, has moved past the erratic Chris Tremlett and Steve Finn, who has struggled for even the most basic rhythm throughout the tour.
It’s a remarkable rise for Rankin, 29, who for most observers would have been a distant last among the three beanpoles in consideration for a Test berth when the tour began.