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England's Panesar ready for Ashes call-up

The 24-year-old hasn't played since the tour match against South Australia from November 17-19, but says he is ready to tackle Oz.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 18:46 IST

Much-vaunted England spinner Monty Panesar says that he is ready to produce if given an Ashes call-up, despite a lack of match practice on the tour.

The left-arm finger spinner was a frustrated onlooker for the first two Tests, with England selectors preferring Ashley Giles' extra experience and superior batting ability.

However, there was widespread criticism of that decision in the wake of England's stunning second Test loss in Adelaide, following on their defeat in the first Test, and Panesar seems certain to be recalled for the third Test, which starts on December 14, 2006 at the WACA Ground.

Panesar gets his chance to impress the selectors in Lilac Hill festival match on December 8, 2006 and England's subsequent two-day tour match against Western Australia on Saturday and Sunday.

The 24-year-old hasn't played since taking just two wickets in the tour match against South Australia from November 17-19, 2006, but said he was ready to tackle the Australians.

"I played in the warm-up games and I'm going to play in the warm-up games this week," Panesar said in Perth on Thursday.

"I think I have bowled a fair bit and also in the nets during the two Test matches I haven't played in. I have got a fair bit of bowling done already since I have been in Australia.

"I am pretty happy with the way the ball is coming out and the way I have been bowling.

"I just have to continue to build on the way I have been bowling in these conditions.

"There is a chance for me, if I bowl well, to put my name in the hat and obviously the coach and captain would take notice," Panesar said.

"It is up to me to try and bowl well and hopefully give myself a chance."

Despite the outcry, particularly in England, over his omission from the first two Tests, a philosophical Panesar said besieged coach Duncan Fletcher had told him that he was overlooked in the interests of team balance.

"The balance of the side is important and he told me it was important that we bat down to eight," he said.

"I can understand the balance of the team... I am disappointed I didn't get a chance but all you can do is focus on the Perth Test match coming."

Panesar, who has 32 wickets in 10 Tests in a promising start to his career, said he would be able to cope with the enormous pressure of expectation that would come with the Ashes recall many outside the team are demanding.

"I just have to bowl the way I have been bowling since I've been playing international cricket."

Panesar said he used his time on the sidelines to do some important homework.

"I have looked at how the Australian batsmen played Ashley Giles, and how Shane Warne bowled as well.

"It gave me a good opportunity to watch the game and see what I could pick up."

Panesar said the English were capable of rebounding despite their demoralising loss in Adelaide and said the gap between the second and third Tests was a blessing.

"We have got character in our team," he said.

"It (Adelaide) was a massive shock and it wasn't easy to take.

"We have to lift ourselves, but we have got a break now before the next Test match and hopefully it gives everyone a chance to mentally and physically get a break and be ready for the third Test.

First Published: Dec 07, 2006 17:19 IST