England in India, 2005-06 March 9, 2006

'Monty is a threat' - Giles

Cricinfo staff



Ashley Giles concedes that Monty Panesar, England's latest spinner, is a genuine threat to his place in the England team © Getty Images

Ashley Giles, who failed to recover from his hip injury in time for England's tour of India, has said he intends to return to the top stronger than ever, following the impressive debut from Monty Panesar who replaced him in the first Test at Nagpur.

"I want to play all the time and I've done that pretty much over the last three years," Giles said at the launch of the Safe Driving Campaign in Newbury. "It's frustrating when a young guy like Monty comes in and does well - you hope that's your position, but now I've got to win that position back.

"Monty is a challenge and a threat to me. It's good to see a young lad do well on his debut because if he's bowling well then he's doing well for the team."

Panesar's first Test wicket was Sachin Tendulkar - cue uncharacteristically joyous celebrations - followed by Mohammad Kaif and Rahul Dravid. Both Dravid and Kaif were bowled, while Tendulkar was trapped in front of middle and off, indicating Panesar's line was both accurate and attacking - two words seldom used about English left-armers on the subcontinent. Giles, though, refuses to be downbeat about his chances of regaining his place.

"Of course part of you wishes it was you getting the wickets, but at the same time he's doing a great job for the team and I hope that continues," he said. "You need youngsters coming through and across the board it's good to see.

"We've lost four players from the team that won the Ashes last summer and the side has held its own. We got the best of the draw in the first Test and that's got to be encouraging that we're bringing through these young guys who can step into Test cricket and play with confidence."

While Australia's selectors have recalled a number of over-30s for their Test series against South Africa next week - 11 of the 14-man squad took part in the Ashes defeat last summer - England have opted for the enthusiasm of youth to carry them through their subcontinental winter. In Pakistan, it was Liam Plunkett who stood out - with the bat as much as the ball - and Panesar has followed his lead, refusing to be overawed in playing for his country.

As pleased as Giles is that England have a number of promising young players breaking into the side, he conceded his frustration:

"I don't want to miss a game. If I was fit I would want to play in as many games as possible for England," he said. "It's my job and you're also giving someone else an opportunity and that's what's happened here. I'm just not fit and these situations occur.

"I have to get over it and try and get back as quick as I can and come back stronger as well so I can play for a few years yet."

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