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November 13, 2007
Ashley Giles has warned Monty Panesar that Graeme Swann will be breathing down his neck for England's spinner's spot. Giles, who is now Warwickshire's director of cricket after retiring earlier this year because of ongoing hip problems, believes Swann can push Panesar all the way.
"Monty has done well," Giles told the Daily Telegraph. "But if someone like Swanny bowls well, and gets some runs also, then there's that niggling thing about 'what else does Monty offer us?'
"That's not me saying that, that's just how it is. Whereas last winter it was 'why is Ashley playing? - Monty should be playing'. It might not be long before we get 'Monty is playing, why isn't Swanny playing? He offers us a bit more'. That's just the natural scheme of things."
"Monty is now the man in possession, but now he has the threat of Swann to deal with," Giles said. "That's the way it works, you fall off the end of the production line."
Swann is expected to make his debut in the Test series in Sri Lanka, having already impressed in his one-day recall this year. He offers good batting and fielding, which could further enhance his claims.
Panesar, who has 20 Tests under his belt, himself only admitted last week that he didn't see himself as England's No. 1 spinner, although he gave firm reasons why: "The only reason I say that is because I am still young and need to learn. That number one tag is quite a strong statement."
Nevertheless, he would still be the favourite ahead of Swann should England opt for one spinner. They could, however, opt for two as they did during their 2-1 Test series triumph when they visited Sri Lanka in 2001.
England play two three-day warm-up games in Colombo before the first Test starts in Kandy on December 1.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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