Former England spinner Ashley Giles has backed Graeme Swann to prove to be the difference during the upcoming Ashes series. Giles played in two unsuccessful Ashes tours in Australia before retiring to become Warwickshire's director of cricket, he is also a part of the English selection committee.
Although Giles was always a very decent spin bowler, he was never truly world class and has admitted he wasn't in the same league as Swann is now.
"Graeme Swann will play a lot bigger role than I ever played in Australia, I think he's a phenomenal bowler at the moment," Giles said.
Giles was part of the 2006/07 squad that suffered the humiliating 5-0 series whitewash but is convinced the same won't happen with this group of players.
"I think it's the most realistic chance we have of going there and winning the Ashes in quite a while, including some of the trips I went on," he added.
Swann is looking likely to be the difference between the two sides going into the opening Test at the end of next month. On paper both teams look pretty even, with the only real edge lying with England in the spin department, although the Ashes cricket betting makes the home side strong favourites.
While England have the current world's best spin bowler in their ranks, Australia are struggling to decide whether to play the out of form Nathan Hauritz or replace him with the youngster Steve Smith. Anyone thinking about placing an Ashes bet should remember this.
Certainly in the Brisbane Test, it looks as though the Aussie's will pack their team with fast bowlers, who will be more likely to get something out of the bouncy Gabba pitch, leaving their spinner to plug the gaps while they have a rest.