Injured Swann flies home early

Injured Swann flies home early

Graeme Swann has been pulled out of the one-day series in Australia in an attempt to regain full fitness in time for England’s bid for the ICC Cricket World Cup taking place in the Indian sub-continent next month.

The 31-year-old spinner will return to England where he hopes to recuperate from a back injury and the knee problem that has hampered his contribution in the ODIs against the Aussies who lead 3-0 in the seven-match series.

Team director Andy Flower is hopeful Swann will be recovered in time for the opening World Cup game against Holland on 22 February after a couple of setbacks towards the end of the tour of Australia. "It is best for him to go home and get ready for the World Cup," he said.

"It is a big blow because he is an important part of our side. He is a world-class performer and he is full of confidence after the Ashes, but these things happen. We are coming towards the end of a long, hard tour and certainly the physical challenges are starting to take their toll."

Swann who is ranked 4 in the ICC ODI bowler ratings, has been nursing a knee injury he picked up in the opening Twenty20 international and after complaining of lower back strain, the decision was made to send him home early and he will follow Tim Bresnan back to Blighty after his early exit with a calf injury.

England welcome back James Anderson and Kevin Pietersen who are expected to play in the fourth ODI on Wednesday and Stuart Broad has joined the party to build his fitness in time to feature in the World Cup.

Bookmakers make co-hosts India clear favourites to win the World Cup, Irish bookie Paddy Power stands out offering odds of 7/2. Sri Lanka, who along with Bangladesh are the other co-hosts, vie for second favouritism in the betting with England and both are generally priced at 5/1 followed by Australia and South Africa at 11/2 in the market.

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