England news August 20, 2013

Panesar can return for England - Cook

13

Alastair Cook has assured Monty Panesar that the door is not closed on him in terms of an England comeback.

Panesar was released by his county, Sussex, earlier this week after he was fined by police for his part in a drunken incident in Brighton that involved the player urinating over nightclub bouncers in the early hours of the morning.

But while Cook admitted that Panesar had "let the England shirt down", he also acknowledged his qualities as a bowler and let him know that he will be welcomed back into the side if he can demonstrate he has made the necessary "changes in his life".

"What's happened over the last couple of weeks has been disappointing," Cook said. "I've spoken to him - he actually rang me - which shows he knows he's done wrong and let the England shirt down a bit.

"But he recognises he needs a bit of a change in his life which I think is always the first step.

"The bottom line is that we need Monty back bowling as well as he can bowl. The way back is through taking wickets and he knows that. We know he has that pedigree in international cricket."

Panesar has started the process of change by joining Cook's county side, Essex. And while Cook admitted that move had taken him by surprise, he welcomed it.

"I didn't know he was going to Essex," Cook said. "I thought he was going to Northants. I'm not the be-all and end-all at Essex. But I'm glad we get a quality spinner and I'm going to get a nice good look at him at Essex."

Apart from taking wickets, though, Panesar will also need to demonstrate that he is committed to team success and has no problems with alcohol. Panesar had been dropped by Sussex earlier in the season for a poor on-field attitude.

"I don't really know all the details," Cook said. "But he has that side of his life that he definitely needs to get right because we know what an off-field life can do to you.

"Everyone is saying, 'Is the door shut?' It's certainly not, but he knows what he must do to get back.

"It was not the most pleasant phone call for him to make - to the England captain to apologise. But we know the class Monty has as a bowler and what he can do when he gets it right. We've seen that time and again. He just has to go back to basics, work as hard as he can and do what he does best - which is taking wickets. If he does it for Essex, it's even better for me."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Liquefierrrr on August 21, 2013, 1:53 GMT

    Panesar is 31 years old now. His next few years are going to be extremely pivotal in his success/failure at righting his wrongs and reconnecting with England as a player.

    I'm an Australian, so am used to spin bowlers courting controversy (refer SK Warne). I'm not too fussed about all that. These are just people who are very talented at cricket. Flawed and fallible.

    Cook has made the right moves by standing firm on the fact Panesar's behaviour has been unacceptable, however also ensuring Panesar knows the door is not closed. Panesar obviously knows he's in the wrong, he's apologised to the right parties. It's now about what comes next.

    So Essex now, and possibly somewhere else for next season. He must keep his head down, take plenty of wickets, and be the ultimate team man. From what I can gather, this would be as simple as reconnecting with the Monty of 5-6 years ago - the man who friends, fans and foes adored, respected and loved.

    Best of luck mate, put it behind you.

  • subbass on August 22, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    I think Monty will be OK it is very out of character so I guess a worry, but the fact that he is basically a good, honest and hard working bloke means I think he will get back on track before too long.

  • Shan156 on August 21, 2013, 23:04 GMT

    @vikram501, Cook is a defensive captain but that doesn't necessarily translate to bad. We have had our fair share of maulings in the 90s and I would rather we are defensive rather than take unnecessary risks and increase the probability of losing. I know it could lead to boring cricket sometimes but it is still better than losing. And, it is not like he draws most of his games. His captaincy record reads (prior to the Oval test) P-15 (6 at home, 9 away), W-9 (5 at home, 4 away), L-1 (away), D-5 (1 at home and 4 away). That is an excellent record by any standards.

    Off the field, Cook is a likeable bloke, a perfect gentleman, and among the best behaved cricketers in the world. As you rightly point out about his handling of KP, he has good people skills.

  • on August 21, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    For the England captain to not know there is a new player at Essex really emphasises how out of touch county players are when called up to the England team. They never seem to play for their counties any more.

    I support Sussex and it appears to me that Matt Prior has played only 3 matches all season for his county. That's ridiculous!

  • binojpeter on August 21, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    As far as I have seen Kerrigan today, Panesar is much better than him, if England wanted a slow left spinner.

  • Diaz54 on August 21, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    I agree Panesar's behaviour is unacceptable! However look at the underlying reasons.....you look with an openneyevyounwill find them. They are cricket related.

    This guy has been used by England and dropped when ever they feel like. Other players don't get the same critism for poor performance like he has, Bopara, Patel for dropping a catch. Carberry despite having a many good seasons in all formats has been over looked!

    Look at the current test, England have selected 2 guys way ahead of their time. Kerrigan nice lad...he won't even get into indian and pakistani under 19 team. Please think about what I am saying....we live in a difficult world...all wound up with politics.

  • HawK89 on August 21, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    England are already looking for another spinner to replace Swann for when he retires. Monty can't field or bat. Only way hes ever going to get back is to break Swann's hand. Okay spin bowler at best. Overrated because of his looks, not skill.

  • JustIPL on August 21, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Maybe during the series against India specially if it is in India. Otherwise, if Kerrigan cements his place in 5th investec test then panesar may be left hanging.

  • vikram501 on August 21, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    Agree with @jmcilhinney here. While Cook has his fair share of critics regarding his slightly defensive tactics on the field, off the field he seems to be a terrific captain. You can see that everyone in the English team plays for the captain. He is even better than Strauss in this regard as shown by his handling of KP.

  • Crimsonbat on August 21, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    Panesar needs to add to his skills and outthink the the batters.

  • Liquefierrrr on August 21, 2013, 1:53 GMT

    Panesar is 31 years old now. His next few years are going to be extremely pivotal in his success/failure at righting his wrongs and reconnecting with England as a player.

    I'm an Australian, so am used to spin bowlers courting controversy (refer SK Warne). I'm not too fussed about all that. These are just people who are very talented at cricket. Flawed and fallible.

    Cook has made the right moves by standing firm on the fact Panesar's behaviour has been unacceptable, however also ensuring Panesar knows the door is not closed. Panesar obviously knows he's in the wrong, he's apologised to the right parties. It's now about what comes next.

    So Essex now, and possibly somewhere else for next season. He must keep his head down, take plenty of wickets, and be the ultimate team man. From what I can gather, this would be as simple as reconnecting with the Monty of 5-6 years ago - the man who friends, fans and foes adored, respected and loved.

    Best of luck mate, put it behind you.

  • subbass on August 22, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    I think Monty will be OK it is very out of character so I guess a worry, but the fact that he is basically a good, honest and hard working bloke means I think he will get back on track before too long.

  • Shan156 on August 21, 2013, 23:04 GMT

    @vikram501, Cook is a defensive captain but that doesn't necessarily translate to bad. We have had our fair share of maulings in the 90s and I would rather we are defensive rather than take unnecessary risks and increase the probability of losing. I know it could lead to boring cricket sometimes but it is still better than losing. And, it is not like he draws most of his games. His captaincy record reads (prior to the Oval test) P-15 (6 at home, 9 away), W-9 (5 at home, 4 away), L-1 (away), D-5 (1 at home and 4 away). That is an excellent record by any standards.

    Off the field, Cook is a likeable bloke, a perfect gentleman, and among the best behaved cricketers in the world. As you rightly point out about his handling of KP, he has good people skills.

  • on August 21, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    For the England captain to not know there is a new player at Essex really emphasises how out of touch county players are when called up to the England team. They never seem to play for their counties any more.

    I support Sussex and it appears to me that Matt Prior has played only 3 matches all season for his county. That's ridiculous!

  • binojpeter on August 21, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    As far as I have seen Kerrigan today, Panesar is much better than him, if England wanted a slow left spinner.

  • Diaz54 on August 21, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    I agree Panesar's behaviour is unacceptable! However look at the underlying reasons.....you look with an openneyevyounwill find them. They are cricket related.

    This guy has been used by England and dropped when ever they feel like. Other players don't get the same critism for poor performance like he has, Bopara, Patel for dropping a catch. Carberry despite having a many good seasons in all formats has been over looked!

    Look at the current test, England have selected 2 guys way ahead of their time. Kerrigan nice lad...he won't even get into indian and pakistani under 19 team. Please think about what I am saying....we live in a difficult world...all wound up with politics.

  • HawK89 on August 21, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    England are already looking for another spinner to replace Swann for when he retires. Monty can't field or bat. Only way hes ever going to get back is to break Swann's hand. Okay spin bowler at best. Overrated because of his looks, not skill.

  • JustIPL on August 21, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Maybe during the series against India specially if it is in India. Otherwise, if Kerrigan cements his place in 5th investec test then panesar may be left hanging.

  • vikram501 on August 21, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    Agree with @jmcilhinney here. While Cook has his fair share of critics regarding his slightly defensive tactics on the field, off the field he seems to be a terrific captain. You can see that everyone in the English team plays for the captain. He is even better than Strauss in this regard as shown by his handling of KP.

  • Crimsonbat on August 21, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    Panesar needs to add to his skills and outthink the the batters.

  • on August 21, 2013, 2:00 GMT

    Cook seems like a pretty cool guy

  • landl47 on August 21, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    When's the next tour to the subcontinent? That's when his bowling might be needed. I wouldn't pick him otherwise- not for his personal problems, but because he doesn't add anything to the side except on rank turners.

    It's a pity this has happened at this point in his career. It's easier to put it down to youthful indiscretion when a player is 21 than when he's 31. He needs to get himself sorted out fast, because the youngsters are snapping at his heels- Kerrigan, Briggs, maybe Dockrell and, would you believe, I saw a 16-year old offie called Brad Taylor bowling for Hampshire today and getting Simon Katich out. Yes, that's right, the Katich that all the Australian fans have been calling for. A 16-year old selected for an English county? Amazing!

  • jmcilhinney on August 21, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    Given the hand Cook played in ending the issues with KP, it's no surprise that he would play a role with Monty. Certainly, if a player is acting up then action needs to be taken, but a player would have to do something fairly bad to be black-balled indefinitely. If Monty had urinated on an umpire during a game then that might border on unforgivable but what he did was off the field so, while it needs to be addressed, it shouldn't preclude him from playing again. Monty certainly performed well for England in India and in UAE so we all owe him a debt of gratitude. His poor performance in NZ suggests that he may not be the man to back up Swann in Australia anyway and it might be too late for him to make things right before that tour. If Kerrigan impresses (although he may not get much chance to actually play) then Monty may not be able to get back anyway. The fact that Kerrigan is also a left-armer probably makes it harder for Monty because they provide the same contrast to Swann.

  • jmcilhinney on August 21, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    Given the hand Cook played in ending the issues with KP, it's no surprise that he would play a role with Monty. Certainly, if a player is acting up then action needs to be taken, but a player would have to do something fairly bad to be black-balled indefinitely. If Monty had urinated on an umpire during a game then that might border on unforgivable but what he did was off the field so, while it needs to be addressed, it shouldn't preclude him from playing again. Monty certainly performed well for England in India and in UAE so we all owe him a debt of gratitude. His poor performance in NZ suggests that he may not be the man to back up Swann in Australia anyway and it might be too late for him to make things right before that tour. If Kerrigan impresses (although he may not get much chance to actually play) then Monty may not be able to get back anyway. The fact that Kerrigan is also a left-armer probably makes it harder for Monty because they provide the same contrast to Swann.

  • landl47 on August 21, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    When's the next tour to the subcontinent? That's when his bowling might be needed. I wouldn't pick him otherwise- not for his personal problems, but because he doesn't add anything to the side except on rank turners.

    It's a pity this has happened at this point in his career. It's easier to put it down to youthful indiscretion when a player is 21 than when he's 31. He needs to get himself sorted out fast, because the youngsters are snapping at his heels- Kerrigan, Briggs, maybe Dockrell and, would you believe, I saw a 16-year old offie called Brad Taylor bowling for Hampshire today and getting Simon Katich out. Yes, that's right, the Katich that all the Australian fans have been calling for. A 16-year old selected for an English county? Amazing!

  • on August 21, 2013, 2:00 GMT

    Cook seems like a pretty cool guy

  • Crimsonbat on August 21, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    Panesar needs to add to his skills and outthink the the batters.

  • vikram501 on August 21, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    Agree with @jmcilhinney here. While Cook has his fair share of critics regarding his slightly defensive tactics on the field, off the field he seems to be a terrific captain. You can see that everyone in the English team plays for the captain. He is even better than Strauss in this regard as shown by his handling of KP.

  • JustIPL on August 21, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Maybe during the series against India specially if it is in India. Otherwise, if Kerrigan cements his place in 5th investec test then panesar may be left hanging.

  • HawK89 on August 21, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    England are already looking for another spinner to replace Swann for when he retires. Monty can't field or bat. Only way hes ever going to get back is to break Swann's hand. Okay spin bowler at best. Overrated because of his looks, not skill.

  • Diaz54 on August 21, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    I agree Panesar's behaviour is unacceptable! However look at the underlying reasons.....you look with an openneyevyounwill find them. They are cricket related.

    This guy has been used by England and dropped when ever they feel like. Other players don't get the same critism for poor performance like he has, Bopara, Patel for dropping a catch. Carberry despite having a many good seasons in all formats has been over looked!

    Look at the current test, England have selected 2 guys way ahead of their time. Kerrigan nice lad...he won't even get into indian and pakistani under 19 team. Please think about what I am saying....we live in a difficult world...all wound up with politics.

  • binojpeter on August 21, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    As far as I have seen Kerrigan today, Panesar is much better than him, if England wanted a slow left spinner.

  • on August 21, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    For the England captain to not know there is a new player at Essex really emphasises how out of touch county players are when called up to the England team. They never seem to play for their counties any more.

    I support Sussex and it appears to me that Matt Prior has played only 3 matches all season for his county. That's ridiculous!