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Dark horse England can give WC title contenders a run for their money: Swann


February 22, 2011 - Nagpur

England off-spinner Graeme Swann has said that he is determined to go back home with a handful of World Cup wickets to make up for being away from his wife and new-born son Wilfred for six weeks.

In an article for The Sun, Swann said: "England boys go into the tournament rated as underdogs - or dark horses-I truly believe we are better than some of the teams being mentioned as title contenders."

Swann says that a change of scenery and the return of some of the lads from injury has "seen a wind of optimism sweep through the (England) camp."

He said that skipper Andrew Strauss concurs with him that the lads are geed up to take on their World Cup opponents, starting with The Netherlands here on Tuesday.

He also praises the team management for making a "cracking decision" to have Kevin Pietersen open the batting in the subcontinent.

"I think it's a cracking decision. Everyone knows KP is world class and India is the big stage he loves. Opening gives him the chance to bat long and I fancy him for a stack of runs," Swann said.

"I'm happy with where I am and I've certainly put my hand up for selection against the Dutch today. And besides, I'm a pretty rubbish 12th man," he said.

He also criticized the International Cricket Council's (ICC's) decision to reduce the number of sides playing in the next World Cup.

He asked: "I don't mind going on record to say I think it's a crazy decision - how do we expect those nations to inspire the next generation of youngsters?

It's supposed to be a world event and, for me, that means including the smaller nations. Without them it's a glorified Champions Trophy," he adds.

ANI

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