England news September 29, 2013

Panesar feared for England career

ESPNcricinfo staff
29

Monty Panesar, the England spinner who has endured a troubled season, has welcomed the chance to resurrect his international career after being included in the Ashes squad to tour Australia.

Panesar was released by his county, Sussex, after a drunken night out in Brighton culminated in him urinating on bouncers outside a club, and he feared he had "thrown away" his England career. However, since making his apologies to the England management and taking up various offers of help to deal with his problems, he is hopeful of making a fresh start.

"I just can't tell you how thrilled I am with the selection," he told the Mail on Sunday. "It's an incredible boost I needed as a cricketer and as a person, after a chapter in my life I'm ashamed of. The support I've had from everyone has been overwhelming and my only focus now is to repay them for their amazing faith in me."

Panesar was fined by the police for being drunk and disorderly over the nightclub incident and footage of him being taken away from a late-night fast-food outlet subsequently appeared on YouTube. Shortly afterwards, Sussex announced that he would be released from his contract at the end of the season and he agreed to join Essex on loan.

"I know it looks terrible but I wasn't as drunk as people believe," Panesar said of the night in question, when he was out with a number of Sussex team-mates. "Yes, I'd had a lot to drink, but I wasn't paralytic. I was asked to leave and then got caught short. The next thing I knew the bouncers were shouting at me and running after me.

"I swear I didn't see them and I had no intention of purposefully urinating on them or near them. To be honest, I barely went at all and I'm pretty sure I didn't hit them but the next moment I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, they're chasing me', and I ran to the pizza place. That's where they caught me and a local decided to film it and put it on YouTube.

"The next morning I woke up and thought, 'What have I done?' My first reaction was that I'd just thrown my England career away, maybe even my whole cricket career. I felt very lonely and very depressed. It was a very dark time."

As well as phonecalls to Andy Flower, England's team director, and the captain, Alastair Cook, Panesar also got back in touch with Neil Burns, the former Leicestershire and Somerset wicketkeeper who is now a professional mentor and coach. He denied that his divorce in 2011 had contributed to his problems and said that the support from his family and the Sikh community had helped him to turn things around. He has also taken up yoga and not touched alcohol in the last six weeks.

"I've had a lot of help from people like Neil Burns, my long-time friend and mentor, who has helped me to learn to make a point of integrating far more with my new team-mates at Essex, as well as the staff and fans there. It's really helped, as has yoga. I used to do it a bit but since the incident I do it every morning without fail. It's helped to put me in a better place, both mentally and physically."

Panesar's inclusion in England's Ashes squad was subject to plenty of debate and the question of his suitability was raised again on Friday, when he was given a suspended ban by the ECB for "threatening and intimidating behaviour" in a county match. However, the 31-year-old, who is not yet certain where he will be playing next season, believes that his "passion is back" and said he is ready to perform the role of Graeme Swann's understudy that he is so familiar with.

"I wouldn't say I was either threatening or intimidating but I will admit to becoming incredibly frustrated because I was having no luck at all, with inside edges and catches falling just short," Panesar said. "I have to be aggressive when I bowl but it was a minor incident that I accept. The ECB and I have spoken about it and I must be mindful of my behaviour, but it's not seen as a problem by England.

"At least it shows my passion is back, I suppose. I know there's a chance I might not get a Test match in Australia but I am determined to be eager, positive, supportive and ready if a chance comes my way. I'm hoping I can be involved in a fourth consecutive Ashes victory and I'm very confident I will be, even if it's as a squad member."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on October 1, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    Have to say , I don't think Monty deserves to be in this squad.

    I'm not all that fussed re his off field incidents but I'm more fussed about his on field form. Yes Kerrigan was unimpressive but maybe that wasn't the most suitable test for him to come in as a 2nd spinner so it was a poor option to pick 2 spinners for that game at all. In India he was superb in tandem with Swann but in NZ as the sole spinner took 5 wickets in 3 tests at 70 each and in this CC season his form has not been good either. Having said that , I think Monty was made a scapegoat in SL in 2012 after having a very decent series in UAE.

  • shillingsworth on September 30, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    @Ameshisuto - Just because Warne said it doesn't mean that it's anything more than a very tired cliché. In those 40 odd tests Panesar has taken 164 wickets. Playing the same test seems to work for him. Unlike Warne, he isn't the greatest spinner that ever lived but he's a lot better than many who've represented England in recent years. If he is part of a 'serious and growing problem', I would struggle for a description of the situation when the likes of Dawson and Batty were selected.

    Like most players, Kerrigan earned his test selection by bowling consistently well for his county and England Lions. Shameful seems an odd description of his selection.

  • on September 30, 2013, 20:55 GMT

    I like Monty! I likes him a lot! he's okay for an England cricketer!

  • northumbriannomad on September 30, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    @Chris Campling - "Loved by crowds around the world"? Seriously? Why not pick Eddie the Eagle, in that case, or Coco the Clown? Come to think of it - I'm a sensitive soul. Not being picked for England is terrible for my psychological welfare. I think they should pick me.

    But seriously. The salient point about Panesar was made by Shane Warne on commentary: Panesar hasn't played 40-odd Tests. He's played the same Test 40-odd times. The fact that he's the second-best spinner in the country is evidence of a serious and growing problem. A problem which, considering the shameful treatment they doled out to poor Kerrigan, is probably of Team England's own making.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on September 30, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    Barring an injury to Swann, I can't see Magic Monty getting a single game in the Ashes. It is a real shame because many people (myself included) like the guy, and I've always believed bowlers should be chosen for their bowling alone and anything else (batting; fielding etc.) is just a gold-dust bonus. Monty bowls well. In tandem with Swann (which is what England should believe in much more) as opposed to an unlikely replacement, is where Monty could be (and has been!) phenomenal. But with Australian pitches/conditions historically favouring seam (and that's just the way it is - no accusations of "pitch-tampering" etc. intended at all!") - alas poor Monty will most likely be resigned to the sidelines this upcoming Ashes. That, and as Cyril_Knight points out below - a somewhat desolate season fortified with rather infamous antics, - kinda makes you wonder why the heck are England bringing him at all!?

  • on September 30, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    The inclusion of Monty is to be welcomed, not just because he is a fine bowler who needs confidence to produce his best, but because he is a sensitive soul. after the india tour he said that he hoped he wouldn't be discarded until the next time england played in the subcontinent - and then was. the frustration had to come out somewhere. choosing him for australia will only work if he isn't then used as a net bowler. show faith in him and he will repay. besides which, in a team short on likeable chracters (you listening, stuart broad?) he is loved by crowds around the world. i'm sure there will be no repetition of the brighton incident in australia because he will be in a place he needs, and deserves, to be - holding up an end so that swann can take wickets at the other and, at sydney or adelaide, maybe winning a test match on his own.

  • Nutcutlet on September 30, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    Mischievous choice of "Selected Comment" here, I think! In view of it's somewhat unbalanced & partial explanation of England's win in India last autumn, I think SamRoy's comm should have been re-titled " Selective Comment". It's odd, isn't it, how many people have pointed this out? Pls publish!

  • landl47 on September 30, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    @SamRoy: if you're going to make statements about players, you really should check your facts first. Far from not troubling any of India's top order batsmen, 16 of Swann's 20 wickets in the India v. England series were top order batsmen (that would be batsmen down to and including Dhoni). Swann also took his wickets at a lower average than Monty.

    Monty had a fine series, but to suggest he troubled India's top order batsmen and Swann didn't is just plain wrong.

  • Cpt.Meanster on September 29, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    The England selectors have no choice. They had to pick Monty given how bare the cupboard is in England when it comes to top quality spinners. After Monty and Swann, there isn't anyone worthy of a mention. We saw what happened to Simon Kerrigan. There are perhaps more Kerrigans around England and they simply don't wish to risk it. Monty, however unstable he may be, is better than an unknown rookie spinner from county cricket. It's sensible to go with a proven performer.

  • Cyril_Knight on September 29, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    The selection of Monty and Tremlett must infuriate people who follow County cricket closely. Week in week out we see talented bowlers playing their hearts out and taking wickets, winning matches and progressing. Yet England persist with selecting bowlers (and sometimes batters) on reputation only. Panesar and Tremlett have been awful this season and have not earned the right to tour. I hope neither of these two are required Down-Under as the Aussies will relish facing them.

  • JG2704 on October 1, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    Have to say , I don't think Monty deserves to be in this squad.

    I'm not all that fussed re his off field incidents but I'm more fussed about his on field form. Yes Kerrigan was unimpressive but maybe that wasn't the most suitable test for him to come in as a 2nd spinner so it was a poor option to pick 2 spinners for that game at all. In India he was superb in tandem with Swann but in NZ as the sole spinner took 5 wickets in 3 tests at 70 each and in this CC season his form has not been good either. Having said that , I think Monty was made a scapegoat in SL in 2012 after having a very decent series in UAE.

  • shillingsworth on September 30, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    @Ameshisuto - Just because Warne said it doesn't mean that it's anything more than a very tired cliché. In those 40 odd tests Panesar has taken 164 wickets. Playing the same test seems to work for him. Unlike Warne, he isn't the greatest spinner that ever lived but he's a lot better than many who've represented England in recent years. If he is part of a 'serious and growing problem', I would struggle for a description of the situation when the likes of Dawson and Batty were selected.

    Like most players, Kerrigan earned his test selection by bowling consistently well for his county and England Lions. Shameful seems an odd description of his selection.

  • on September 30, 2013, 20:55 GMT

    I like Monty! I likes him a lot! he's okay for an England cricketer!

  • northumbriannomad on September 30, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    @Chris Campling - "Loved by crowds around the world"? Seriously? Why not pick Eddie the Eagle, in that case, or Coco the Clown? Come to think of it - I'm a sensitive soul. Not being picked for England is terrible for my psychological welfare. I think they should pick me.

    But seriously. The salient point about Panesar was made by Shane Warne on commentary: Panesar hasn't played 40-odd Tests. He's played the same Test 40-odd times. The fact that he's the second-best spinner in the country is evidence of a serious and growing problem. A problem which, considering the shameful treatment they doled out to poor Kerrigan, is probably of Team England's own making.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on September 30, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    Barring an injury to Swann, I can't see Magic Monty getting a single game in the Ashes. It is a real shame because many people (myself included) like the guy, and I've always believed bowlers should be chosen for their bowling alone and anything else (batting; fielding etc.) is just a gold-dust bonus. Monty bowls well. In tandem with Swann (which is what England should believe in much more) as opposed to an unlikely replacement, is where Monty could be (and has been!) phenomenal. But with Australian pitches/conditions historically favouring seam (and that's just the way it is - no accusations of "pitch-tampering" etc. intended at all!") - alas poor Monty will most likely be resigned to the sidelines this upcoming Ashes. That, and as Cyril_Knight points out below - a somewhat desolate season fortified with rather infamous antics, - kinda makes you wonder why the heck are England bringing him at all!?

  • on September 30, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    The inclusion of Monty is to be welcomed, not just because he is a fine bowler who needs confidence to produce his best, but because he is a sensitive soul. after the india tour he said that he hoped he wouldn't be discarded until the next time england played in the subcontinent - and then was. the frustration had to come out somewhere. choosing him for australia will only work if he isn't then used as a net bowler. show faith in him and he will repay. besides which, in a team short on likeable chracters (you listening, stuart broad?) he is loved by crowds around the world. i'm sure there will be no repetition of the brighton incident in australia because he will be in a place he needs, and deserves, to be - holding up an end so that swann can take wickets at the other and, at sydney or adelaide, maybe winning a test match on his own.

  • Nutcutlet on September 30, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    Mischievous choice of "Selected Comment" here, I think! In view of it's somewhat unbalanced & partial explanation of England's win in India last autumn, I think SamRoy's comm should have been re-titled " Selective Comment". It's odd, isn't it, how many people have pointed this out? Pls publish!

  • landl47 on September 30, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    @SamRoy: if you're going to make statements about players, you really should check your facts first. Far from not troubling any of India's top order batsmen, 16 of Swann's 20 wickets in the India v. England series were top order batsmen (that would be batsmen down to and including Dhoni). Swann also took his wickets at a lower average than Monty.

    Monty had a fine series, but to suggest he troubled India's top order batsmen and Swann didn't is just plain wrong.

  • Cpt.Meanster on September 29, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    The England selectors have no choice. They had to pick Monty given how bare the cupboard is in England when it comes to top quality spinners. After Monty and Swann, there isn't anyone worthy of a mention. We saw what happened to Simon Kerrigan. There are perhaps more Kerrigans around England and they simply don't wish to risk it. Monty, however unstable he may be, is better than an unknown rookie spinner from county cricket. It's sensible to go with a proven performer.

  • Cyril_Knight on September 29, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    The selection of Monty and Tremlett must infuriate people who follow County cricket closely. Week in week out we see talented bowlers playing their hearts out and taking wickets, winning matches and progressing. Yet England persist with selecting bowlers (and sometimes batters) on reputation only. Panesar and Tremlett have been awful this season and have not earned the right to tour. I hope neither of these two are required Down-Under as the Aussies will relish facing them.

  • Nutcutlet on September 29, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    @ Posted by SamRoy on (September 29, 12:55 GMT). Quite. And just remember that whilst Monty was largely responsible for bowling India out, please recall that KP produced one of his devasting innings (186) ably supported by Cook (122) -- this on a pitch that Dhoni had ordered to nullify the England pacemen! That and the first match pitch at Ahmedabad (where Monty was insanely left out) were not designed to allow the quicks any sort of say in the proceedings, well though Yadav bowled. As for the current situation, Monty can consider himself lucky to be going on tour & this must, in part, be a reward for last winter's heroics in India, besides the fact that no other England spinner is of Test calibre ATM. England's major concern for the future has to be who will take Swann's place. I think that he has a year or so left. My bet is on Ollie Rayner as his bowling is rapidly improving & he is more than useful as a lower mid-order bat. He also fulfillis Eng's preference for tall men at 6'5"!

  • on September 29, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    @Samroy. English batters had a liot to do with it as well (and even Dhoni says Anderson was the difference) oh and the umpires. Cooke given out 4 times incorrectly in the tests and once in the ODI. If you are going to hobble the best batsman like that then the series might end up looking closer than it should have been.

  • on September 29, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    My last post probably sounded a bit harsh but I hope Monty gets a chance to do the business, and if he does he must take it. He's probably the best (or potentially the best) slow left-armer we've had since the great Derek Underwood (sorry Tuffers) and he's a match winner given the conditions / his mindset. Good luck Monty. Show 'em.

  • binojpeter on September 29, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    I believe that Panesar can bring good impact only when England tours subcontinent surfaces where they need two spinners and Panesar makes an formidable pair with Swann. I don't think England has any tours to grounds with subcontinent surfaces anytime soon. In upcoming Ashes series, I can see him in the eleven only if Swann is injured during the series. He has plenty of time to get his things right.

  • Kirk_Levin on September 29, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    SamRoy. Mate, Panesar was not the sole reason why Poms won. He bowled well in crucial times but it was Cook, Kevin, and other key players, who ensured bowlers had something to defend. Try to keep up eh.

  • on September 29, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    nothing to fear for monty considering tredwell was belted by Australians in odis and kerrigan is not talented enough to bowl at test level. he outperformed swann when they were paired and I dont think he wud be challenged as our english spin department have no alternatives ro him. get on with it monty.dont go clubbing in Australia.

  • bennybow on September 29, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    As a Brighton resident and occasional visitor to that nightclub, I can inform you that the Monty incident is not a hot topic there - people have found other things to talk about. Of course this is the time of the year when the Mail on Sunday has no cricket news to write about so it's inevitable they will resurrect old stuff. If Monty is guilty of one misdemeanour in his 31 years on the planet, I think we can all move on. Hope he gets the chance to bowl in Oz and rips the fragile opposition apart.

  • shillingsworth on September 29, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    @SandipManjrekar - Panesar pleaded guilty to a criminal offence and agreed to accept an on the spot fine. No one was charged in respect of the 'Oval issue' (as you quaintly put it) since there was no criminal offence involved (they were on private property) and nothing was actually proved to have taken place. Sadly, the parallel which you have tried so hard to draw is false.

  • SamRoy on September 29, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    Monty even if he contributes nothing else as a cricketer will be known as the major reason why England won in India after 25 years. Yes, Swann bowled well but apart from Sehwag and occasionally Pujara didn't trouble any of the other top order Indian batsman. Monty won that test match in Mumbai singlehandedly in probably the best bowling performance by an England spinner in a very long time and turned that tour for England around. Only in the third test did Anderson come to the party. In the first two tests fast bowlers from England had zero impact.

  • Kirk_Levin on September 29, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    Rooto. I'm sure you also suffer from amnesia, when it comes to seeing how poorly Panesar has been performing at the domestic level. You can't rest on your past laurels on international cricket mate. Overall, Panesar has been a let down. Very inconsistent.

  • Iddo555 on September 29, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    I was less worried about the behaviour than I was about how poor he was bowling. We can all go off the rails now and again but when you're taking wickets at over 40 in county cricket then you're not much use to anyone, certainly not of any use at international level. He's lucky to be there in my opinion, lucky that there is no one else kicking down the door for the second spinner job.

  • on September 29, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Monty is indeed a lucky man. If Kerrigan had made a decent fist of his chance, and / or Tredders hadn't been smashed around Great Britain in the ODI's then I suspect Monty's international career would have been finished. He's in the last chance saloon, both behaviour and performance, and can't afford to screw it up. On or off the pitch.

  • on September 29, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    "Rarely performs?" He took 33 wickets in six tests last year, dontchaknow. There's no reason to pick Panesar over Swann in most cases because of Swann's better all-round game and ability to wickets on flat decks, but in Asia he's still an excellent second spinner to have in the wings.

  • on September 29, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    Poor Monty: I can't help but feel sorry for him. But to be honest, after things that have happened in the past from various other players, this is relatively minor. And the reason why he's still in the England squad behind Swann and above others, is let's face it, what other spinner in the country spins the ball, has good accuracy and takes wickets even against Indian players: the best players of spin in the world. Monty, please be better for this and good luck

  • Rooto on September 29, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    Peter Jones has a very short memory. It's less than 12 months ago that Monty was a vital element in the test victories in India.

    On the basis that recognising the problem is a vital step to solving it, I confidently predict that we'll see the best of Monty again soon.

  • Kirk_Levin on September 29, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    He can thrilled about his selection but he won't get a game in Aussie. He will mostly carry the drinks and watch the action from the sidelines. I also don't understand how he could have been selected over other deserving candidates. Onions was more deserving and a better candidate compared to Panesar, who clearly lacks mental toughness to compete at the highest level. Poor decision from ECB who are trying to appease certain groups for politics.

  • Kirk_Levin on September 29, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    Panesar must consider himself very lucky, to have been given so many chances despite poor performance and reckless behavior. He rarely performs and despite playing international cricket for so many years, he has failed to live up to expectation and take his game to the level. Time to move on and find someone else.

  • SandipManjrekar on September 29, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    It is understandable why Monty Panesar is selected but it is not understable why Monty felt thrilled about his selection. On which basis he thought about his career end. When Oval issue was buried under carpet then Monty issue didn't exist anymore. Great work by ECB!!!!!!!!!!

  • on September 29, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    People have been cast away by their teams for lesser crimes. Panesar shouldn't throw away this opportunity. For someone who troubled the famed Indian batting lineup to no end on his debut tour of India, Panesar surely has underperformed so far!

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  • on September 29, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    People have been cast away by their teams for lesser crimes. Panesar shouldn't throw away this opportunity. For someone who troubled the famed Indian batting lineup to no end on his debut tour of India, Panesar surely has underperformed so far!

  • SandipManjrekar on September 29, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    It is understandable why Monty Panesar is selected but it is not understable why Monty felt thrilled about his selection. On which basis he thought about his career end. When Oval issue was buried under carpet then Monty issue didn't exist anymore. Great work by ECB!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kirk_Levin on September 29, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    Panesar must consider himself very lucky, to have been given so many chances despite poor performance and reckless behavior. He rarely performs and despite playing international cricket for so many years, he has failed to live up to expectation and take his game to the level. Time to move on and find someone else.

  • Kirk_Levin on September 29, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    He can thrilled about his selection but he won't get a game in Aussie. He will mostly carry the drinks and watch the action from the sidelines. I also don't understand how he could have been selected over other deserving candidates. Onions was more deserving and a better candidate compared to Panesar, who clearly lacks mental toughness to compete at the highest level. Poor decision from ECB who are trying to appease certain groups for politics.

  • Rooto on September 29, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    Peter Jones has a very short memory. It's less than 12 months ago that Monty was a vital element in the test victories in India.

    On the basis that recognising the problem is a vital step to solving it, I confidently predict that we'll see the best of Monty again soon.

  • on September 29, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    Poor Monty: I can't help but feel sorry for him. But to be honest, after things that have happened in the past from various other players, this is relatively minor. And the reason why he's still in the England squad behind Swann and above others, is let's face it, what other spinner in the country spins the ball, has good accuracy and takes wickets even against Indian players: the best players of spin in the world. Monty, please be better for this and good luck

  • on September 29, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    "Rarely performs?" He took 33 wickets in six tests last year, dontchaknow. There's no reason to pick Panesar over Swann in most cases because of Swann's better all-round game and ability to wickets on flat decks, but in Asia he's still an excellent second spinner to have in the wings.

  • on September 29, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Monty is indeed a lucky man. If Kerrigan had made a decent fist of his chance, and / or Tredders hadn't been smashed around Great Britain in the ODI's then I suspect Monty's international career would have been finished. He's in the last chance saloon, both behaviour and performance, and can't afford to screw it up. On or off the pitch.

  • Iddo555 on September 29, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    I was less worried about the behaviour than I was about how poor he was bowling. We can all go off the rails now and again but when you're taking wickets at over 40 in county cricket then you're not much use to anyone, certainly not of any use at international level. He's lucky to be there in my opinion, lucky that there is no one else kicking down the door for the second spinner job.

  • Kirk_Levin on September 29, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    Rooto. I'm sure you also suffer from amnesia, when it comes to seeing how poorly Panesar has been performing at the domestic level. You can't rest on your past laurels on international cricket mate. Overall, Panesar has been a let down. Very inconsistent.