Cricket - Flower admits regret over Swann

Andy Flower has expressed apparent regret that record-breaking off-spinner Graeme Swann felt unable to complete England's unsuccessful Ashes tour.

Swann's decision to retire, at the age of 34, after the tourists' third successive defeat in Perth - but with two Tests still to go at that point - divided opinion.

The Ashes were gone, and Swann explained at the time he realised he could no longer bowl to anywhere near the standards England required of him.

Three operations on his bowling elbow had taken their toll, and Swann concluded it was in his and England's best interests for him to bow out mid-series.

One more defeat on, after England went 4-0 down in Melbourne, coach Flower spoke for the first time about Swann's sudden retirement.

He was at pains to congratulate England's most successful off-spinner of all time on his career achievements, but also made it clear he would have preferred Swann to stay on until the end of the tour.

"Graeme Swann has done an outstanding job for England over the last six or so years," Flower said.

"I think he's the seventh highest Test wicket-taker in English history.

"To do that over 60 Test matches is a great effort, and he's been a huge part of our success over the last few years.

"I've been very proud to have had him in the side, and I know he can retire very proudly.

"In saying that, I would have liked him to have seen the tour out."