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December 17, 2008
Peter Moores, the England coach, has defended Monty Panesar's poor show in India's record chase in Chennai, blaming it on lack of practice ahead of the series. Panesar last played a first-class game in September and went in to the first Test without a warm-up game, after the scheduled match was cancelled following the Mumbai terror attacks.
Moores echoed the words of David Capel, Panesar's coach at Northamptonshire, who said Panesar lacked bowling practice and needed time to work on his variations.
"One of the keys to Monty in this Test match is that he's not had a run of games and I don't think it was as easy as the pitch looked because otherwise Harbhajan [Singh] and [Amit] Mishra would have run riot and they didn't," Moores said.
Harbhajan and Mishra took three wickets each in the first innings but managed only one each in the second as England scored 311 to set India a mammoth target of 387. Panesar, who also took three in India's first innings, went wicketless and conceded 105 runs in the chase.
"As you go through your overs you get into a rhythm so that's quite challenging for someone who is suddenly charged with the job of bowling out an Indian Test match team that are playing very good cricket," Moores said.
Panesar's record in Tests, he said, compared very favourably to a lot of spinners who had started out in the game around the same time and he was still very young. "People talk about him developing and changing pace and that takes time, we know that with spinners. They have to add things to their game as batters do and all cricketers do to stay ahead of the game."
In his first 17 Tests, Panesar took 65 wickets at 28.40 with six five-fors and a ten-wicket haul while in the last 17 he took 52 at 37.82 with two five-fors.
"He wants to develop his game and he is developing his game and he's at that point in his career where he is learning all the time. Once you learn something, you practice it and then you can start to use it in a game. It's not an overnight process."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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