Only I wanted Monty, says Fletcher
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Only I wanted Monty, says Fletcher

Former Duncan Fletcher reacted to press criticisms during the Ashes '06 of his handling of Monty Panesar , by revealing that it was only him who wanted Panesar in the playing eleven.

cricket Updated: Oct 31, 2007 17:57 IST

Monty Panesar's omission from the England squad during the Ashes was largely blamed on Duncan Fletcher, but the former coach reveals he was the only one wanting to have the left-armer in the side despite a unanimous vote in favour of Ashley Giles.

"I can state categorically here that I wanted him to play at Adelaide. I wanted to play both spinners: Panesar replacing James Anderson from the first Test lineup," Fletcher writes in his autobiography which is being serialised in the 'Daily Mail'.

"Even before the tour started I had thought that I would like two spinners at Adelaide, at Perth (although that was proved wrong) and Sydney too," he added.

Fletcher recalled that he had made up his mind on playing both Monty and Giles after having a look at the conditions but was out-voted during the management meeting as even skipper Andrew Flintoff favoured Giles.

"We went into our management meeting and every person there, bar me, wanted just one spinner and wanted him to be Giles. This included people like Phil Neale, Mark Garaway, Kevin Shine and Matthew Maynard, all with considerable experience in the game, the first three all having coached county sides," he writes.

"The only person who hinted that he might agree with me was Paul Collingwood, who said: 'May be we could play two spinners.' But that was it," he added.

The former coach regretted not being assertive enough while pushing for Monty's selection.

"I should have been stronger but what do you do when the vote is so convincingly against you? It was why I made my much publicised "I'm not the sole selector" comment after this Test," he said.

Fletcher, however, remained critical of Monty's abilities and felt that the left armer had not proved his worth on tracks which do not assist spin.

"It was obvious that Panesar needed to work on his batting and fielding and we also needed to see him bowling on a less helpful pitch. People were getting carried away with the entire performance and already talking about how we could retain the Ashes. That worried me," he said.

Fletcher reiterated that he had no personal issues with Monty and tried to help his game as much as he could.

"I found this annoying (the media reports) because it was already being built up as a personality clash between me and Panesar but it was nothing of the sort," he said.

First Published: Oct 31, 2007 17:51 IST