Why Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad Should Play in the YB40 Final

Alex TelferFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 21: Stuart Broad (L) and  Graeme Swann of England walk off after victory during day four of the 2nd Investec Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Lord's Cricket Ground on July 21, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The ECB's recent announcement that Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad were available for the YB40 Final between Nottinghamshire and Glamorgan opened up a can of worms.

While their county side Notts have negotiated 13 encounters in order to get to Lord's, Swann played just twice in the competition back in May, while Broad hasn't figured at all.

Which raises the question: Is it fair that the two Ashes superstars, who have been in the limelight all summer, should waltz back into the team at the expense of others for a one-off match?

Of course, there has been opposition from the romanticsor more accurately, the various message boards and fans forums where the English domestic game is discussed.

What about the poor lads who have put in the hard yards? What about the players who have trekked around the country since the competition began in May only to be cruelly robbed of their moment of glory?

Notts fans will remember an almost identical incident that backfired a few years ago featuring the same duo.

In their 2010 domestic T20 competition, the Midlanders qualified for Finals Day, and Swann and Broad were made available despite the off-spinner not playing at all and Broad only playing a couple of group games throughout the qualifying campaign. The stars were fast-tracked into the side but the unsettled Outlaws lost their semi-final against Somerset, with Broad’s return of one wicket for 44 runs less than inspirational.

Another area of concern for Outlaws coach Mike Newell is form.

While the rest of the squad have been playing week-in, week-out for months, Swann's and Broad’s season effectively finished when the Ashes ended on 25 August. Now, all of a sudden, despite having no match practice in four weeks, the duo will be expected to hit the ground running and provide match-winning performances.

But despite these legitimate issues, it would be a huge error to leave a combined total of 490 List A wickets, 264 of which were in ODIs against some of the best batsman in the world, sitting in the dressing room. Added to this is Swann’s miserly economy rate of 4.42 from over 200 matches and the ability of the pair to provide rapid late-order runs.

Statistics aside, perhaps even more important are the intangible qualities they bring to the team.

Their experience and know-how on the big stage and the increased confidence their presence brings to the rest of the side could be enough to get Notts over the line.

One last nail in the naysayers' coffin comes from the Friends Provident Trophy semi-final in 2007.

As reported on ESPN Cricinfo, England released Ian Bell to play for Warwickshire in the fixture. However, the county made the tough decision to leave the gifted stroke-maker out and stick with the lineup that had got them to the last four. 

They consequently stumbled to a 40-run loss.

So it’s bad luck to the pair who miss out (although a share of the prize money may brighten their spirits), but there is simply no room for sentiment in professional sport.