Brisbane: England spinner Graeme Swann has questioned the selection of his uncapped Australian opposite Xavier Doherty for the first Ashes cricket Test, adding a new edge to pre-match sparring four days ahead of the series opener.
Left-armer Doherty is likely to make his Test debut at Brisbane on Thursday after winning selection in Australia`s first test squad at the expense of regular spin specialist Nathan Hauritz.
The 28-year-old Tasmania has only 84 first class wickets at an average of 48 but Australia`s selectors believe his orthodox left-armers, turning away from right-handers, might trouble England`s batsmen more than Hauritz.
Swann batted back that theory on Monday, saying England`s Kevin Pietersen could "destroy left-arm spinners" and England was unconcerned by the Australian gamble.
"There`s a new guy going to come in who I don`t know anything about," Swann said. "We obviously had planned for playing against Hauritz. It`s not a concern for us because we`ve seen Kev (Pietersen) destroy left-arm spinners.”
"Any batsman can get out to any bowler any time. I know it doesn`t worry Kevin and it doesn`t worry the rest of us."
Swann is the No. 2-ranked spinner in world cricket but denied he held the key to England`s chances of winnings its first Ashes series in Australia since 1986-87.
"No, I don`t take it on board because it`s not the view that I hold," he said. "I only do well if the team`s doing well. If we`re not putting on big totals and taking wickets at the other end, it`s hard for me to do very well.”
"It`s nice. It shows that I`ve had a good couple of years if people are saying that. But I`m not buying into it."
Swann said England was well-equipped to prosper if the first Test pitch at Brisbane`s Gabba ground favored seam bowling over spin.
"We`re very lucky if it is seamer-friendly conditions as we`ve got two of the best seam bowlers in the world (James Anderson and Stuart Broad) and a guy who will the best bowler in the world in three or four years (Steven Finn)," Swann said.