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"It’s an honest book, and anyone reading it will realize that the one person getting assassinated in it is myself.”
Graeme Swann makes no apologies for his remarks concerning Kevin Pietersen’s leadership in his autobiography, The Breaks Are Off.
Speaking to Paul Newman, Swann said:
I completely stand by what I said that Kev is not a natural leader of men. I only know two people from my time who I’d put in that category. One is Stephen Fleming, and the other is Andrew Strauss. It’s that rare.
You can have good captains, but to be an absolute natural leader, like a Mike Brearley, is a rarity. I certainly don’t consider myself one when I’ve captained, and I don’t think Alastair Cook is. He’s a good captain, but it just doesn’t come as naturally to him. Straussy was born to be England captain. Fleming was born to be a captain. I just don’t think people took what I wrote in context.
Defending his frankness, Swann said:
What it boils down to is that it can be OK to do a book, but make sure you don’t say anything. And that’s not me. I would never forgive myself if I went through my career kowtowing to people and being a 'yes' man. And I would never have forgiven myself if I’d pulled my punches. It’s an honest book, and anyone reading it will realise that the one person getting assassinated in it is myself.
I rip myself to pieces because that’s how I feel about my career before it took off. I look back in embarrassment at a lot of it, and I want that to come across. I don’t want to pretend I’ve always been in the right, and everyone else has been wrong. I fully realise you’re responsible for everything in your life, and I live by that.
“When I wrote it, I didn’t think it was controversial in the slightest because I didn’t say anything in the book that I wouldn’t say in an interview. Some people who applaud me for being honest suddenly turned on me.”
What he really meant:
“Of course, I’m assuming my readers are perspicacious.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“My royalties are killing me.”