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Good and bad news for England

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One English cricketer announced his arrival; another suddenly departed.

In another disappointment for the touring Ashes side, off-spinner Graeme Swann yesterday announced his retirement from international cricket, saying it would be wrong and selfish to continue.

Fellow spinner Monty Panesar is likely to take the 34-year-old’s place for the Boxing Day Test.

Just as Swann’s team mates and England’s fans were taking in the news, Adelaide Strikers star import Alex Hales belted 49 runs in 19 balls on a late Sunday afternoon in Hobart.

Hales has been dubbed “The Next Kevin Pietersen”, is ranked the world’s No.1 T20 batsman and has said he wants to emulate Dave Warner’s rise through T20 to all forms of the game.

The 24-year-old Englishman smacked nine fours and a six to help the Strikers bolt out of the blocks at Bellerive in a match reduced to eight overs-a-side before rain caused it to be abandoned at 1-87 from six overs.

“My international career has started off nicely but this tournament’s very tough and I’m going to be on top of my game if I’m going to do well in it,” Hales said after the match.

His pedigree suggests he’s a star in the making.

A BBC report says his father Gary broke several local batting records (including 321 not out in a limited overs league match in 1991) while his grandfather Dennis was a talented tennis player who once forced Rod Laver to five sets at Wimbledon.

First identified in the England Under 19s of 2008, he made his first class debut in 2011. In July Hales made a century for Nottinghamshire in the county championship, a score that, according to Cricinfo, marked him as “beginning to warrant the attention of the England selectors”.

He’s already played 21 T20 Internationals for England and his 68-ball 99 not out off 55 is the equal highest score by an English batsman in a T20 International.

The Adelaide Strikers shape up as a danger side in the Big Bash Leabgue with Hales joining Klinger as the opening pair with Phil Hughes at number three.

Locals can see their side in action on December 31 at Adelaide Oval.

England, meanwhile, can contemplate Hales’ prodigious talent while a second player has left their touring side, Swann following Trott home for a winter Christmas.

Australia have won the first three Tests to reclaim the Ashes and Swann was under pressure to hold his spot in the team, having claimed only seven wickets in this series at an average of 80.

“I know I’m making a decision for the right reasons,” he said at Sunday’s media conference.

“My body doesn’t like playing five-day cricket any more and I don’t feel like I can justify my spot in the team in the last stages of a game.

“As a spinner, that’s when you need to come into your own.

“Me hanging around with a decision already made in my head wouldn’t be right.

“It would be selfish for me to carry on.”

Swann said he knew midway through the second Test in Adelaide that it was time to retire, but he delayed telling the team to make sure it was the right decision.

Despite mulling over it, Swann said he still struggled to tell England coach Andy Flower and captain Alastair Cook on Saturday.

He broke the news to the rest of the team on Sunday morning.

“It should have been a very easy conversation, but it actually made it doubly-hard just to sit down over a coffee and blurt it out,” Swann said of his friendship with Cook.

Swann became a key member of the English team that had won the previous three Ashes series.

He said the best cricketing memory would be having his friend Mike Hussey caught at short leg at the Oval in 2009 to confirm England had won back the Ashes.

Swann played 60 Tests from 2008, taking 255 wickets at 29.96.

He was also a handy lower-order batsman, averaging 22 and boasting a top score of 85.

Swann wants to be remembered primarily as someone who loved playing the game.

“Since I got back (into the England team in 2008) I’ve treated every day like a lottery win … because that’s what it is,” he said.

“It really annoys me when people out there take it for granted and get above their station … it’s the most privileged thing any man can do.”

Swann said in hindsight he could have retired after the previous Ashes series in England earlier this year.

“Why didn’t I stop then? I knew more or less that the time was coming up,” he said.

“But I’d never forgive myself – we had the chance to potentially come out here and win four Ashes series on the bounce.

“It’s easy to wish you’d gone out taking 10-for in your last game and being hoisted on people’s shoulders.”

Swann said his social media gaffe, where he apologised for comments after the Perth Test loss, had not helped prompt him to retire.

The Englishman received praise from his opposite number in the Australian team, Nathan Lyon.

“He’s someone who I’ve looked up to a lot,” said Lyon on the Cricket Australia website.

“His career stats stand for themselves. He’s been an unbelievable spinner and someone who I watched pretty closely in my time.

“I’m sure he will be sorely missed in the England team but I wish him all the best in the future.”

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