Melbourne, Dec 23: Graeme Swann, one of the greatest England off-spinners, shocked the cricketing world Sunday (December 22) by announcing his retirement from all forms of the game with immediate effect.
Swann's sudden announcement comes in the middle of the Ashes which England have already lost by going down in the first three Tests of the five-match series.
The 34-year-old from Nottinghamshire ended his career with 255 wickets from 60 Tests at an average of 29.96. His performance in the ongoing Ashes was nowhere near his usual standards, managing only seven wickets at 80.
"When I came out on this trip, I half expected it to be my last tour for England," Swann told reporters here ahead of the Boxing Day Test.
"I was desperately hoping to win the Ashes out here again like we did in 2010-11, but with the Ashes gone now in those three Test matches, personally I think to stay on and selfishly play just to experience another Boxing Day Test match and another Sydney Test match would be wrong. It would be wrong for the team, wrong for me as well."
Swann said he could not cope with bowling long spells.
"My body doesn't like playing the long forms of cricket. My arm doesn't cope very well with bowling 30 or 40 overs in the first innings and then repeating it in the second innings a day later anymore. I could feel my performances tapering off in the back end of games and I wasn't happy with that. I'm not willing to just hang on and get by being a bit-part player. I want to be a guy who wins matches for England, and I don't feel I was doing that in the second innings anymore."
He said the prospect of winning the Ashes for the fourth consecutive time lured him into touring Australia.
"At the end of the Oval Test match last year, I think why didn't I just stop then? I knew more or less that the time was coming up. But then I'd never forgive myself. We had the chance of coming out here and potentially winning four Ashes series on the bounce. I'd never have forgiven myself had I not come out here and given it a crack."
Swann leaves the game sixth highest-wicket taker for England in Tests behind Ian Botham (383 wickets), James Anderson (329), Bob Willis (325), Fred Trueman (307) and Derek Underwood (297).
More than the statistics, the bubbly character will be remembered for the way he troubled the batsmen with orthodox spin. He did not need a "doosra" to fox the best in the business. His flight and guile was enough.
Swann also took 104 wickets from 79 ODIs and 51 from 39 T20 Internationals.
He helped England to win the World T20 title in 2010 and was parting of the Ashes winning squad thrice.