County news October 31, 2013

Panesar makes Essex move permanent

ESPNcricinfo staff

Monty Panesar's future has been resolved after Essex revealed he has signed a two-year contract.

Panesar, who endured a troubled 2013, spent the final months of the season on loan at Essex and took 14 wickets in six County Championship matches.

Currently in Australia on England's Ashes tour, Panesar, who was courted by several clubs, has now made his move to Chelmsford permanent and will seek to rebuild his career.

"I loved playing for Essex last season," Panesar said. "In the short time I was there, I was made to feel very welcome, both in the team and around the club.

"I will always remember how the supporters and members gave me a heart-warming round of applause when I first came on to bowl at Colchester last August. It helped me to feel respected and loved as a cricketer after experiencing a challenging time in my life.

"I am determined to play my part in inspiring the team to be successful in all competitions. I want to help the club build towards the kind of success they enjoyed in its glory days under legendary captains Keith Fletcher and Graham Gooch.

"I love the 'family feel' of the club, and value the role Essex has played in helping me move towards my best, and gain selection for this winter's Ashes Series."

Panesar's tumbled into obscurity last season having only months before played a vital role as England claimed a famous series victory in India. His form for Sussex disappeared and his attitude was questioned. Panesar's issues came to a head on a now infamous night out in Brighton when he was arrested for urinating on a nightclub bouncer. He was subsequently sacked by Sussex.

But a fresh start at Essex did not prove the end of his indiscretions and he was handed a suspended County Championship ban for "potentially threatening and intimidating behaviour towards a member of the opposition".

Despite his increasing baggage, Panesar was selected on England's Ashes tour and welcomed the chance to resurrect his international career, saying, "It's an incredible boost I needed as a cricketer and as a person, after a chapter in my life I'm ashamed of."

If Essex can return Panesar to his best, he will prove a most valuable asset as they try to return to Division One of the County Championship after a narrow failure in 2013. They have lacked a quality spinner for a number of years and Panesar has the potential to fulfil the role.

"We are delighted that Monty has decided to join our Club," Essex chief executive Derek Bowden said. "He liked his time here at the end of last season and we enjoyed having him. He was on top of our list for new players and it's great to finalise his signing in good time for next season"

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  • Dummy4 on November 1, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    I saw Monty in NZ at a warm up game in Queenstown. Asked for a picture and he was unbelievably reluctant and almost rude despite not having anyone else around. I personally think he has fallen out of love with the game and needs a bit of time away to assess and realise why he loves cricket and why he wants to play.

  • Cricinfouser on November 1, 2013, 14:25 GMT

    @Tom_Bowler - When you've spent the best part of 20 years amongst the also rans, you're going to struggle to recruit anything other than 'damaged goods'. The problem was compounded by the mess kindly left behind by Mr Kaneria. You're right about Monty's potential, here's hoping that our luck changes at last. On the batting side you're spot on as well. It would however be nice if one of our own could be the solid opener - Mickleburgh showed better signs last season and maybe there's still time for Westley.

  • Dan on October 31, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    When bowling well Monty is a cut above most spinners and he should be a massive asset. What worries me after his recent behaviour is Essex's track record of picking up "names" who are, in one way or another, damaged goods (Gough, injury plagued, Tudor, ditto, Shah, only interested in the IPL. Hopefully Monty will buck the trend, it would be great if he could be joined by a solid county opener as our splintery top order has been our achilles heel for years now.

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