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Swann hails 'hero' Strauss as England target whitewash
England spinner Graeme Swann has admitted captain Andrew Strauss has become something of a 'hero' to him.
Strauss, along with coach Andy Flower, has led England to the top of the world Test rankings for the first time in over 30 years. Swann believes the two men deserve the majority of the credit for that achievement, and paid tribute to Strauss's leadership skills inside and outside the dressing room.
"I spend half my working life standing next to Andrew Strauss and I have to admit he is a bit of a hero to me," Swann told The Sun. "Strauss is a magnificent leader and his contribution to England's climb to the top of the world Test rankings has been absolutely massive.
"He commands universal respect, not just from the other players in the dressing room but also from the backroom staff, selectors and hierarchy at the ECB.
"The thing about Strauss is that he is so calm and always says the right thing. So, when the stroppy merchants like myself, Stuart Broad and James Anderson start losing our rags, Strauss can return us very quickly to an even keel with a comment or even just a gesture.
"I've never seen Strauss get caught up in the emotion of situations."
In contrast, Swann believes Flower is a more volatile character - but believes that contrast in styles has actually helped captain and coach build a great working relationship.
"Flower is much more emotional than Straussy but they complement each other perfectly," he said. "They bounce ideas off each other well and you can guarantee that, now we have reached No. 1, they will want us to refocus our goals.
"There's no way Strauss and Flower will be satisfied just with getting to the top. They will want to stay there as long as possible - and I'm certain the players feel the same. This isn't job done, it's job started.
"There are always new frontiers. In the next 15 months or so, we have Test series away to Pakistan (which will be played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Sri Lanka and India. The heat, pitches and crowds are all a little alien in Asia, so trying to win over there will be a big challenge.
"First of all, though, is the small matter of the fourth Test against India at The Oval on Thursday. There's no way Flower will allow us take our feet off the gas. We're going for 4-0."