County news August 19, 2013

Troubled Panesar joins Essex


Monty Panesar, the left-arm spinner who has endured a troubled season, has apologised for his recent behaviour after being released by Sussex and joining Essex for the remainder of the season. He was allowed on loan to a Division Two side and is still hoping to earn a place on the Ashes tour to Australia, while harbours hopes of being the "best spin bowler in the world."

Panesar was fined by police for being drunk and disorderly earlier this month after urinating on bouncers following a night out in Brighton and has not played for Sussex since. He was left out of England's squad for the final Ashes Test at The Oval when, under normal circumstances, he would have been expected to be included with England naming two spinners.

"I have endured a challenging time this year off the field and my frustrations have sometimes got the better of me professionally," Panesar said in statement. "I apologise for letting the club, my colleagues and my fans down.

"I am grateful to Sussex for allowing me to be released from my contract for 2014 and 2015 in order to explore other opportunities to further develop my cricket. I want to give myself the best chance of playing all forms of the game at the highest level.

"I would like to thank Sussex for the opportunities, experiences and support I have enjoyed at the club since 2010, and my gratitude for the contribution Sussex have made in providing me with a platform to gain selection for England on three successive winter tours."

Essex is now the next stop in a career that began at Northamptonshire and has often flourished for club and country but is need of repair. Panesar said he would be working again with Neil Burns, his former mentor, to try and get his career back on track. Where his full-time future lies remains open to debate.

"I have re-engaged with Neil Burns at London County Mentoring, to help to develop my cricket further and I feel that Neil, along with a trusted support structure in place around me will help me put my personal and professional problems behind me and enable me to put all my energies and focus into the game and a new club.

"I am determined to do whatever it takes to gain selection for England this winter. I want to become the best I can be.

"I believe that if I maintain the bowling progress I have made in recent weeks which enabled me to be selected for the Test squad at Old Trafford, I can fulfil my long-held ambition of becoming the best spin bowler in the world, over time."

Panesar is set to make his debut against Northamptonshire, his first county, on Tuesday and Paul Grayson, the Essex coach, said: "We are delighted to welcome Monty to the club for the remainder of the season. He is a world-class spinner and we are confident that he will have a positive impact on the team. He will join us from today and will hopefully be playing tomorrow at 11am against Northants."

Sussex's investigation into the events in Brighton has concluded with the club saying "both parties have reached agreement." Panesar will become a free agent on September 27.

Zac Toumazi, the Sussex chief executive, said: "Clearly this season has been a very difficult time for Monty Panesar. Having reviewed the whole situation the club has agreed that Monty be released from his contract. This will give him every opportunity to put his personal and professional life back on track."

Sussex's professional cricket manager Mark Robinson said: "Monty has been an integral part of the professional cricket team and has been a valuable contributor to the overall performance of the club during his time at Sussex. He is an outstanding bowler. I would like to thank Monty for his contribution and wish him well for the future. "

Even before Panesar's drinking incident it had been a difficult season for him. In 11 Championship matches he claimed 23 wickets at 40.39 and lost his place for a match. He had been included in the England squad for the Old Trafford Test against Australia and it was after his omission from that game that the latest problems occurred.

His most recent Test was against New Zealand, in Auckland, during March when he was deputising for the injured Graeme Swann. Earlier in England's winter campaign he had formed a key double-act with Swann during the historic series victory in India.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jason on August 20, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    To those questioning montys action, its been announced his marriage broke down over the year to the point I believe hes now divorced. I'm not saying this is justification for his behaviour but it certainly hels explain his performances and events of recent times.

    Anyone who has gone through a divorce or break up will understand how it can affect people, I've seen one friend who was the happiest person on the planet on the verge of suicide following a Divorce.

    Hopefully Essex will act as a catalyst for him to get his life back together.

  • martin on August 20, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    There should be no debate about Swann or Panesar at all. The bottom line is that Panesar has always been a conditions bowler for England. When conditions are helpful to him he can be very good, when not he's ordinary. This is not the case with Swann, who has often contributed well to England winning when conditions haven't been totally helpful.

    Panesar has never fully lived up to expectations. Even Shane Warne said a while back when Monty had played 33 Tests, that he hadn't really played 33 Tests, but one Test 33 times, he lacked variety and couldn't adapt to conditions when they weren't helpful to him and he was predictable. To a large degree that's still the case. Give him a dusty turner and he can bowl people out, a wicket with little in it for him and he still looks predictable and ordinary. As he now only gets picked for England when conditions are likely to help him his recent bowling stats make him look better then he is.

    He's not in the same class as Swann.

  • Dummy4 on August 19, 2013, 22:19 GMT

    @Jonathan_E: "In Indian / subcontinental conditions, Monty seems to be the better spin bowler than Swann. He was definitely better in the UAE as well."

    I'm not so sure. Swann took more wickets and had a better average in the series in India.

    @ irishwolfhound: "whenever he played, he out-bowled Swann, but was always told he's second-fiddle, and somehow each and every one of his wickets was to be somehow attributed to Swann. I'd lose faith as well if I were taking 6-wicket test hauls and my spin-twin was doing absolutely nothing and still getting selected ahead of me."

    Panesar is and has never been been better than Swann, and Swann did better than him in India.

    As for Panesar's situation, this is really surprising behaviour. For such a nice guy on and off the field, something really must have changed in his life and character to have allowed him to degenerate to the point where he was harassing women in a nightclub and lawbreaking in the vicinity of bouncers. Really strange.

  • John on August 19, 2013, 22:10 GMT

    @Juiceoftheapple on (August 19, 2013, 12:01 GMT) I don't think Somerset play at WSM these days do they? Otherwise he could do a re-enactment

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 19, 2013, 10:39 GMT) UAE 1st test too - so they (Eng) learnt quickly that 2 spinners were needed in the SC - NOT

    @irishwolfhound on (August 19, 2013, 12:20 GMT) Swann has proven time and again his pedigree as a lone spinner. Monty played as a lone spinner in NZ and didn't cover himself in glory and if he's not bowling well he's contributing nothing else

  • Cricinfouser on August 19, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    @irishwolfhound - The Panesar outbowling Swann thing is a myth. In 2012, they played a total of 6 tests together. Swann had the better figures. The statement that Swann 'does absolutely nothing' is ludicrous. If Panesar is indeed disenchanted that Swann is selected ahead of him, he merely needs to reflect on which of them is the better all round cricketer.

  • stuart on August 19, 2013, 20:53 GMT

    Monty is a sad tale.There is more to this then is being let on at the moment but he needs to go away and learn how to behave decently. Flower wont stand for this and his form all summer has been poor

  • Phil on August 19, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    As an Essex fan, I'm certainly happy to have Monty playing for us - we certainly need a class spinner. Hope being in the 2nd division doesn't harm his England chances.

  • Cricinfouser on August 19, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    @irishwolfhound - The 'Panesar outbowling Swann' one is a myth. In the 6 tests they played together in 2012, Panesar took 33 wickets at 26 and Swann took 29 wickets at 24. Given that Swann at least matches Panesar as a bowler and is comfortably the better batsman and fielder, I can't see why Panesar would have any complaint about Swann being selected ahead of him. The reason why Panesar is always second fiddle was clearly illustrated in the tour of New Zealand in early 2013.

  • Peter on August 19, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    I'm sure this is the best scenario for all concerned. Hopefully Panesar can make a fresh start and sort his head out. He's a proven Test performer who's taken 164 wickets including 12 five-fors. Swann's knocking-on a bit, and England need all spin options available. I hope we haven't seen the last of him internationally, but he's got a lot of work to do to make the return. In the short term, hope his life becomes sorted on and off the pitch, and that he can first of all get back to bowling consistently well again.

  • John on August 19, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    @irishwolfhound - did you see the same games I did? - well though Monty performed in India, it's hard to describe him as the dominant spinner, when, in the 3 games they both played, Swann had much the better average, better strike rate and better economy, and over the 4 tests took more wickets at lower average and better strike rate!