Sydney: England`s number one off-spinner Graeme Swann has been officially cleared to play in the Ashes after undergoing successful elbow surgery in the United States.
As Australia face surrendered the Border-Gavaskar trophy in Mohali on Monday, the England and Wales Cricket Board released a statement declaring Swann on course to be fit for the first Ashes Test starting July 10.
England was dealt an unexpected blow during their current series against New Zealand when Swann withdrew on the eve of the first Test last week after ongoing problems with his elbow.
It is the second bout of surgery to his bowling arm, with Swann revealing last week his elbow had caused him such grief doctors had to remove 29 bone fragments in 2009.
Swann, who turns 34 this Sunday, faces six-to-eight week rehabilitation, meaning he will be able to resume bowling by June at the latest.
The best-case scenario is that Swann will be fit to play in the return series against New Zealand in England, with the first Test at Lord`s starting on May 16.
The 50-Test veteran tweeted a picture of his own in his hospital, bed following the operation and joked, "You can`t really see here, but I am wearing the bejesus out of this hospital gown."
Swann, who has 212 Test wickets at a bowling average of 29.13, will be a crucial weapon in England `s plan to retain the Ashes in back-to-back series this year.