David Saker has backed spinner Graeme Swann to prove a thorn in Australia’s side once again this winter ahead of the start of the Ashes series in Brisbane on Thursday.
England are expected to continue with their four-man bowling attack this winter after successfully implementing the tactic in the previous tour Down Under.
Critics argued beforehand that the attack would struggle in the heat without a fifth option but Swann and James Anderson were joined by two of Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan throughout the 2010-11 series, that saw England win the urn in Australia for the first time in 24 years.
Such a feat was made possible by Swann managing to get enough out of lifeless pitches to tie down an end in the opening stages of the game before going on to take wickets as the match progressed.
And England bowling coach Saker believes there is not a better man tasked with the role once again as the start of the series at the Gabba draws ever closer.
“I think he’s proven across his career that he can stand up to any sort of pressure or any situation,” said Saker.
“He’s done it on all surfaces around the world, and he’s done it really well for us.
“When the ball’s not spinning he does a great job for us just holding, and when it’s his turn to take the game by the scruff of the neck he tends to do that.
“I’m really confident he’ll keep doing the role he does really well.
“We see him as a guy that can win us the game late on, not so much early.
“Our seamers are the ones we need to put pressure on days one and two, and Graeme comes into it late in the game.”
Saker went on to reveal today that the fourth bowling spot, to line-up alongside Swann and opening duo Anderson and Broad, has all-but been decided.
Tremlett, Finn and Boyd Rankin have been battling it out to show their respective merits as they seek inclusion in the side and Saker said that a decision has been reached.
However, he stressed that every member of the squad could still force their way into consideration if they perform well in the final net sessions this week.
“I think we’re pretty clear in our minds where we’re going to go,” he said after the team arrived in Brisbane.
“There’s a few more days to go. If someone wants to jump the queue, they’ve got a couple of days to do that.
“But we’re confident where we are … we’re pretty clear who we’re going to pick, and we’ll go from there.”
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