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Graeme Swann reacts to being paired with Karen Clifton on Strictly tour – and why he prefers Oti Mabuse

Oti will be missed!

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Graeme Swann has shared his reaction after being partnered with a new pro dancer, Karen Clifton, on the upcoming Strictly Come Dancing tour. The former England cricketer has spent the past couple of months dancing with Oti Mabuse, and there's no doubt that the pair have formed a close bond. But due to other work commitments, Oti will not be joining the other pros on tour.

Speaking about leaving his original dance partner behind, Graeme told HELLO!: "Somebody is taking over the world of dance, which is amazing. I mean she is the world's greatest dancer so she'll be brilliant on that show, so I get to dance with Karen, who is amazing as well." He jokily added: "Of course, I'd rather have Oti! But Karen is an incredible, able replacement."

Graeme reacts to dancing with Karen:

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Oti, who will be joining Cheryl and Alesha Dixon among other stars on The Greatest Dancer, told Graeme: "I think you would have been just as good with any girl because all the girls are amazing, and a lot of them would have been excited to have you and smile as much as I have. Karen will be much nicer, much nicer. I can tell you that much right now. She's so nice, she's too nice!" Graeme laughed: "There's no way she'll be tougher. It's impossible. But I wouldn't have Oti any other way."

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Oti and Graeme attended Pride of Sport on Thursday night

The Strictly stars were chatting to HELLO! at the Pride of Sport Awards in London, where they were briefly reunited for the glittering night out. Graeme, who lives miles away from Oti in Nottingham, admitted: "I text her about ten times a day and go, 'Do you miss me, do you miss me?' My phone bill's through the roof. I'm very needy."

Graeme confessed he found it hard to watch Strictly "for the first five minutes" after being booted off the show, but is loving cheering his friends from home. "I just hope everyone dances well," said Graeme, adding that he is rooting for Faye. "Faye and I became really good friends because we were always in the hotel together because we travelled from the North, so I have a soft spot for her and she's a brilliant, brilliant dancer."

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Graeme is dancing with Karen Clifton on the Strictly tour

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He added: "I loved seeing her get 40. But Joe's a really cool guy, Stacey is amazing, Lauren's done so well to get where she is and Ashley, you've got a Pussycat Doll there. The competition's incredible now, so who knows?"

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