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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 January 2021

Swann is serious about Masters Champions League and says ‘it is not a holiday’

The former England spinner is now one of the Legend players with the Libra Legends franchise, and was advising his team yesterday on their purchases during the league auction in Dubai.
England's Graeme Swann is with Libra Legends, one of the six franchises in Masters Champions League. Ajit Solanki / AP Photo
England's Graeme Swann is with Libra Legends, one of the six franchises in Masters Champions League. Ajit Solanki / AP Photo

DUBAI // Trust Graeme Swann to tell it like it is. Lest any player thought the first Masters Champions League (MCL) would be a little easy late-career payday, Swann was there to put them right.

Swann retired from international cricket in December 2013, mid-Ashes, and is now one of the Legend players with the Libra Legends franchise. he was advising his team yesterday on their purchases during the league auction in Dubai.

A general, and strategically sensible, trend at the auction was for teams to spend more money on players who are not long retired, as opposed to just splashing out on the biggest names.

Swann’s franchise made the most expensive purchase, of Jacques Kallis, for US$175,000 (Dh642,766); it was a decision, Swann said, spurred by having played with Kallis recently at the All-Stars series in the US.

“One of the reasons I was so keen to get Kallis in our team is that in America, just a few days ago, watching him bat, he’s as good as he was, trust me,” Swann said. “Gilly [Adam Gilchrist] was Sagittarius Soldiers’ target but Kallis was our No 1, so I was delighted we pulled him in.”

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That is not a surprise, given Kallis only retired in 2014. Beyond the Icon players, whose base prices were $100,000, the bigger money went on players such as Fidel Edwards ($90,000 to the Leo Lions); he will be 34 when the league begins but is still playing competitively and is quick.

“He is still playing overseas cricket, county cricket and doing well in the BPL [Bangladesh Premier League],” Scott Styris, a Legend player at the Leo Lions, said. “We feel that with some guys potentially not having played for a little bit, that kind of pace can really undo you.”

Edwards, as well as players such as Brendan Taylor, James Franklin and Johan Botha, who are all active domestically, will ensure that this will be no holiday.

“I think the realisation of how much money is at stake now and there are owners here who want results makes you pull your fingers out of your backside,” Swann said.

“You can’t just turn up and treat it as a jolly. It’s not a holiday, it’s a serious tournament and each player will feel that when they get here. I think that’s kind of the reason a lot of people are playing again, to feel that pressure of expectation again because it’s something you miss massively when you finish playing.”

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osamiuddin@thenational.ae

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Published: December 7, 2015 04:00 AM

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