Graeme Swann: Cricketers must use lockdown to try new things - even jogging, Broady

England cricketer Stuart Broad
'I've never seen Stuart Broad out running in my life!'
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We interrupted his garden spin masterclasses to catch-up with Graeme Swann, who shares a rare sighting of an ex-teammate running and discusses how cricketers can stay sharp during the lockdown...

"In lockdown, there are still opportunities for the spinners to improve. I was taught as a young man to always have a ball in my hand. If you're sitting at home, just have it in your hand, spinning it and flicking it in your fingers... "

Lockdown does funny things to people...

I honestly don't know how I would cope with being a professional cricketer during lockdown. I live very close to Stuart Broad and I was driving along the road the other day when he went jogging past. I've never seen Stuart Broad out running in my life but there he was, so it's clearly doing funny things to people!

Joe Root said the other day that a season of no cricket had crossed his mind, but I think as a player you probably can't think like that. They have to understand that they might not play any cricket but I don't think it can be healthy to focus on that too much. Instead, I would be trying to make sure that I am as ready as possible in case the game suddenly gets the green light.

The problem is that cricket is so technical. How do you go and bowl at someone? I'd be alright because my son is a world-class batsman but the rest of them... their kids aren't as good as mine, obviously!

Always have a ball in your hand

In lockdown, there are still opportunities for the spinners to improve. I was taught as a young man to always have a ball in my hand. If you're sitting at home, just have it in your hand, spinning it and flicking it in your fingers, flicking it until it becomes second nature.

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They probably don't coach that any more - they probably make you do press-ups instead - but I hope that in this time off those spinners are out trying new things, even in the garden or something. Just give stuff a go. But also get your fingers moving and keep the skin tough so when you do get the chance, you're ready to go.

Get cricket back on as soon as it is safe

The interesting thing will be to see what happens if and when we do get the all-clear, how quickly we get back into cricket. If they do, I would suggest just jumping straight back into it. I wouldn't give them three weeks or whatever because you're never going to have an amount of time that is 'fair for everyone'.

From an injury perspective, there's no reason why you shouldn't be as fit as a fiddle. So just get out there, play and see what happens. There might even be some positives. Some batsmen might even have improved by doing nothing and not letting bad habits creep in. But they could be awful too!

Of course, this does mean that they don't have to play in April. I'd have given anything to miss those preseason games - once at Chelmsford the groundsman was chipping ice off the artificial strip as we went out to warm up and we got hailed, snow, rain and sunshine in the space of one over.

I'd have given anything to be a wicketkeeper in April, no spinner should have to bowl in those conditions - but frankly no one will complain about missing cricket that early in the season!

Graeme Swann,

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