Graeme Swann
Graeme Swann was forced to defend comments about player arrogance. [Reuters]

Graeme Swann insists he was not referring to any of his England teammates when he accused certain players of being "up their own backsides" after retiring midway through the Ashes.

The former England spinner announced his retirement from all forms of the game on Sunday and was forced to defend his comments tweeting: "I wasn't talking about the England dressing room or anyone in it."

Swann also contacted former England captain Michael Vaughan to make clear that he was not talking about England players. Vaughan wrote in response: "We all make mistakes @Swannyg66. I make plenty... I am afraid on this occasion you have made one."

Swann's offending comment stated: "some people playing the game at the minute have no idea how far up their own backsides they are.

"It will bite them one day, and when it does I hope they look back and are embarrassed about how they carry on."

Swann, who has earned a reputation for speaking his mind when cricket is concerned, does have the backing of the current England squad for whom there appear to be no hard feelings.

"I think Swanny probably knows who he's referring to, but in terms of the dressing-room we're right behind him. We loved him to bits," said teammate and Swann's replacement Monty Panesar.

"When he played with us he had great character, his sense of humour was good. We all back him as a team.

"I'm replacing an iconic player. He's done unbelievable things over the last few years for English cricket and will be remembered as one of the greats."

Panesar will be looking to help his team prove a point as his 50<sup>th Test approaches in Melbourne. Ahead of the match, he said of Australia: "I would say they've been a bit more ruthless in their cricket.

"They've come quite hard at us - and you have to give credit to the Australians, the way they've played their game.

"They've fought really hard and always put us under pressure, never let us get back in the game.

"They've played a really strong brand of cricket so we're hungry and determined to show what we can do to them as well.

"In these next two Tests we want to show what this team is all about."

Durham leg-spinner Scott Borthwick has been called into the squad for the remaining two Tests while Kent off-spinner James Tredwell will join the squad for the final Test in Sydney.