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Swann: England not weakened

Spinner plays down impact of Pietersen absence

Graeme Swann (right) celebrates with Kevin Pietersen

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Graeme Swann believes England could be better off without Kevin Pietersen for the deciding Test against South Africa at Lord's.

Pietersen was dropped from the squad for the series decider after allegedly sending derogatory text messages about members of the England side to the touring players.

With no public apology or denial forthcoming from Pietersen, the selectors left him out for the third Test, which England must win to claim a share of the series and retain top spot in the world rankings.

"Since Kevin retired from limited-overs cricket, we are unbeaten in all matches in the shorter formats."

Graeme Swann

Quotes of the week

Despite his brilliant hundred at Headingley, off-spinner Swann points to the England side's record in limited-overs cricket since Pietersen retired as evidence they can succeed without him.

"We need to pull in the same direction, not 10 us doing it and one of us not," Swann wrote in The Sun.

"Just because you lose one player, it doesn't necessarily make you a weaker team.

"In fact, since Kevin retired from limited-overs cricket, we are unbeaten in all matches in the shorter formats."

Shocked

Swann added that he and team-mates were 'shocked' at Pietersen's talk of unrest in the England dressing room.

"I watched a video of Kevin's press conference last Monday at Headingley, when he spoke about supposed problems in the dressing room," Swann added.

"I was certainly shocked by those claims. I don't know if there were developments during the week at Headingley after I left, but it was news to me.

"And, speaking to a couple of the other lads, it was news to them as well.

"I'd just say that, if there were issues, we pride ourselves on having a very open dressing room and he certainly didn't mention any problems to anyone else."