Brisbane:England spinner Graeme Swann has questioned the selection of his uncapped Australian opposite Xavier Doherty for the first Ashes Test, adding a new edge to pre-match sparring four days ahead of the series opener.
Left-armer Doherty is likely to make his Test debut at Brisbane on Thursday after winning selection in Australia's first Test squad at the expense of regular spin specialist Nathan Hauritz.
The 28-year-old Tasmania has only 84 first class wickets at an average of 48 but Australia's selectors believe his orthodox left-armers, turning away from right-handers, might trouble England's batsmen more than Hauritz.
Swann batted back that theory on Monday, saying England's Kevin Pietersen could "destroy left-arm spinners" and England was unconcerned by the Australian gamble.
"There's a new guy going to come in who I don't know anything about," Swann said. "We obviously had planned for playing against Hauritz. It's not a concern for us because we've seen Kev (Pietersen) destroy left-arm spinners.
"Any batsman can get out to any bowler any time. I know it doesn't worry Kevin and it doesn't worry the rest of us." Swann is the No. 2-ranked spinner in world cricket but denied he held the key to England's chances of winnings its first Ashes series in Australia since 1986-87.
"No, I don't take it on board because it's not the view that I hold," he said. "I only do well if the team's doing well. If we're not putting on big totals and taking wickets at the other end, it's hard for me to do very well.
"It's nice. It shows that I've had a good couple of years if people are saying that. But I'm not buying into it."
Swann said England was well-equipped to prosper if the first Test pitch at Brisbane's Gabba ground favored seam bowling over spin.
"We're very lucky if it is seamer-friendly conditions as we've got two of the best seam bowlers in the world (James Anderson and Stuart Broad) and a guy who will the best bowler in the world in three or four years (Steven Finn)," Swann said.