London: England off-spinner Graeme Swann thanked India coach Duncan Fletcher for shaping his international career by repeatedly ignoring him during his eight-year tenure as coach with the English team from 1999 to 2007.
Swann, 32, made his ODI debut as a 20-year-old way back in 2000 but soon vanished from the scene, dropped after he failed to impress Fletcher.
After seven years, 249 days and 175 England ODI matches, Swann, who many a time thought of ending his career, made a return to the international stage and rose to become the No.1 Test bowler this year.
"When I first got picked for England, I was not good enough to play for England. I got picked on the basis of some good limited-overs performance and under-19 trips," said Swann.
The spinner said the seven years he spent out of international cricket helped him to emerge as a better bowler. (Also read: Swann says Sachin will take 6 to 7 months for his 100th ton)
"I thank Duncan Fletcher because had I played badly I would have ended up playing one or two Tests and forgotten for ever. So the seven years I spent out of international cricket didn't harm me whatsoever," said Swann.
Asked if he ever got frustrated during those years, Swann said: "If you got better like that, it is very sad. A great fast bowling coach (Ottis Gibson) once told me that (by being ignored) you don't get better you get bitter."