England in India 2008-09 December 16, 2008

Panesar lacks practice, says county coach

Cricinfo staff

Monty Panesar needs more first-class bowling, says his county coach © Getty Images

Monty Panesar's wicketless outing during India's record chase of 387 in the Chennai Test, which has prompted a level of criticism, was due to a lack of bowling practice, his county coach has said. Panesar struggled during the final two days in Chennai and had figures of 0-105 in the second innings as India clinched a landmark win to go up 1-0 in the two-Test contest.

"He needs time to work on his variations in first-class cricket," David Capel, the Northamptonshire coach, told BBC Radio 5 Live. "Monty hasn't played for some time, he's had the misfortune of having trips cancelled. I know he's been working on his variations, but if you haven't played for a long time you stick with the tried and tested when you go into a Test match.

"When people have gone after him he's bowled faster and flatter and that's negative," Capel said. "But he hasn't played a lot of cricket and for him to go from working on his variations in the nets to bowling against Sachin Tendulkar in a Test, you can understand him not being as bold."

Capel felt Panesar needed time to work on his variations in first-class cricket, and was hopeful of a solid return from his ward. "It's not quite as easy when you're touring with the England team, with fewer first-class matches between Tests, if any, and we haven't seen him much at Northants over the past few years," he said. "But he was one of the fastest players ever to take 100 wickets and he's won Tests for England in the past and he'll do it again in the future."

Peter Moores, the England coach, has also said he had been expecting more from Panesar, who he believed was still getting used to the conditions in India.

England's dailies have targeted Panesar for a flat performance. "The spinners threatened only sporadically," the Guardian reported. "This was Panesar''s 34th Test, yet there was no suggestion that he was regarded as the senior spinner. Panesar is a mechanical bowler and he needs all the cogs properly oiled. He is not good at reacting to situations. He has only one optimum pace for any pitch. We may have to accept that."

Angus Fraser, in the Independent, wrote that Panesar's "poor" bowling did not help his captain Kevin Pietersen at all. "Panesar showed little nous as he bowled at the same speed over after over. Spin bowlers have to adapt to the pitch they are playing on and Panesar again did not. He should have been England's match-winner but [Graeme] Swann out-bowled him on his debut."