Swann looks forward to Test harmony

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Graeme Swann is expecting England and Pakistan to defy the consensus in what he hopes will be the most harmonious Test series in a generation between the two countries.

The off-spinner remembers, as do millions, the poisonous atmosphere which pervaded the two countries’ last Test meeting in 2010 - a summer wrecked by the spot-fixing crisis and its aftermath.

There is much at stake for world number ones England in the three-match series set to start in Dubai next week, yet perhaps still more for world cricket - which needs a tough but above all fair contest, and preferably even tempers all round.

That was far from the case 17 months ago as, during the one-day international series which followed the Tests, both teams tried to come to terms with a scandal which would ultimately see three Pakistani players jailed for corruption and banned from their sport.

It was maybe the lowest point in relations between two countries who have had their moments previously, notably in 2006 and 1987.

Swann, however, is convinced there is a will on both sides to make this an exemplary winter.

Asked how he expects the two teams to respond, in potentially vexed circumstances, Swann said: “I’m very positive. I think they’ll be very good. I think both teams want to draw a line under what’s happened, and just move on.

“I’d like to think this could be the series between England and Pakistan that could be played in the best spirit going back 20 or 30 years.”

Swann believes confirmation that the International Cricket Council’s decision review system will be in place, to help the umpires, is reason for more optimism.

“I’m glad we have use of the DRS system, because I think that’s one area where teams can still really fall out and get angry with each other when decisions go against them.

“I think common sense has prevailed on this occasion. Good on Pakistan and England for being proactive and using that system, because I think other boards should follow.”

Swann, who reports himself “100%” fit after a minor injury scare and scan on a sore thigh before England’s warm-up win over a Pakistan Cricket Board XI, is also excited at the prospect of possibly being partnered again in international cricket by his former county team-mate Monty Panesar.

The left-arm spinner took eight wickets in that success against the PCB, and Swann senses England might accommodate an extra slow bowler in these alien conditions.