Injured Swann hopeful of lining up for Ashes Test at Trent Bridge
GRAEME Swann is hoping a second operation on his elbow will give him a shot at turning out in an Ashes Test match on his home ground this summer.
The 33-year-old Notts spinner has been told he must have surgery again to clear away floating bone fragments and ease the pain in his bowling arm.
The first consequence is he will play no part in the three-match Test series against New Zealand, with the first of those matches currently underway at the University Oval.
In a 50-Test career to date, the off-spinner has yet to play against the Kiwis but is upbeat enough to suggest he might yet be able to do so in the return series in England ahead of welcoming the Aussies.
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That may prove fanciful, given a likely best case near two-month recovery period after surgery in America next week.
More realistically, but still cutting things fine, is the mid-summer Champions Trophy on home soil.
But the bigger picture is an unprecedented sequence of home and away Ashes series between July and next January – starting at Trent Bridge with the first Test against Australia from July 10 to 14.
Swann, who will be 34 this month, first had a similar operation four years ago and returned to competitive action swiftly on that occasion and he believes surgery makes him a more feasible contender for the Ashes.
"I was trying to go through my whole career without needing surgery again, but the specialist came back and said something needed to be done," he said, having been sent for scans after suffering discomfort in England's tour match defeat in Queenstown.
"So be it. It's a huge year for English cricket and a huge year for me, so if this means taking a more active part in it then it's something I have to do."