Graeme Swann was arguably England’s player of 2009, taking 54 wickets after usurping Monty Panesar and fending off Adil Rashid to become England’s first-choice spinner.
The off-spinner took two wickets in his first over of Test cricket in India, snaring the scalps of Rahul Dravid and Gautam Gambhir and taking wickets early in his spell is something he has continued to do. He played one ODI against South Africa in January 2000 but was not picked to play for England again for eight years, during which time he moved from the spin-friendly pitches of Northamptonshire to Trent Bridge and Nottinghamshire and by the time he was called up again, he was ready to compete at the highest level.
Four five-wicket hauls and four half-centuries in Tests as of early 2010 have made Swann an essential part of England’s side and his combative stroke-making style undoubtedly lengthens the batting line-up. He was a continual thorn in the side of both Australia and South Africa in 2009 while in ODI cricket, he played a key role in helping England level an ODI series in South Africa in 2008, steering England home along with Stuart Broad.