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Panesar can return for England - Cook

George Dobell

August 20, 2013

Comments: 13 | Text size: A | A

Monty Panesar celebrates the wicket of Alex Wakely, Essex v Northamptonshire, County Championship, Division Two, Colchester, August 20, 2013
Monty Panesar took one wicket on the first day of his debut for Essex © Getty Images
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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

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Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by   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!

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by Crimsonbat on (August 21, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

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

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