Off-spinner Swann's retirement during England's 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia has left Alastair Cook's side without a specialist slow bowler, given the selectors refusal to recall Monty Panesar.

Swann took 255 wickets in 60 Tests and was a mainstay of the attack.

This was in sharp contrast to the situation during the team's recent 1-0 defeat in a two-Test series at home to Sri Lanka where off-spin was provided by Moeen Ali, primarily a batsman, whom England captain Alastair Cook appeared reluctant to trust with the ball.

Cook's tactics were called into question that series but Pietersen- a former England captain who was sent into international exile after the Ashes by team management- said it was always going to be tough without Swann.

"Alastair Cook struggles to captain the side when opposition batters become established because he cannot toss the ball to Swann, who could defend and attack in equal measure," Pietersen wrote in his column in today's Daily Telegraph on the eve of the first of a five-Test series between England and India at Nottingham's Trent Bridge ground.

"Swann made Andrew Strauss's captaincy look good and he made Cook's look good, too, by making crucial breakthroughs when the opposition were threatening to take the game away. It was down to Swann's genius, and not tactical masterstrokes. The Indians respect Swann hugely, they think he is a fantastic bowler and I know they are licking their lips about facing any other English spinner who bowls to them," Pietersen said.

(Agencies)

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