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Harbhajan a better bowler: Panesar

England's spin-star is not flattered by his coach's remark that he's the best finger spinner in world.

india Updated: Aug 11, 2006 23:48 IST

England spin star Monty Panesar is not going over the moon by his coach's flattering remark that he is the best finger spinner in the world, saying Harbhajan Singh and Daniel Vettori are better bowlers.

The left-arm spinner, who has taken 16 wickets in three Tests against Pakistan, was dubbed the best finger spinner by Duncan Fletcher on Thursday.

But Panesar, the first Sikh to play for Britain, believes it is too early for him to be rated as the best.

"I think there are other better finger spinners like Daniel Vettori and Harbhajan Singh, who have taken more than 200 Test wickets each," he said.

"It's flattering though, because I value his comments," the Indian-origin bowler was quoted as saying by BBC Sports.

Panesar, who made his debut in India last winter, is a frontrunner for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award and admits that he does have an acceptance speech ready in case he wins.

"You will have to see on the television, assuming I win."

He, however, still cannot fathom the reasons for his popularity.

"It is flattering to hear those things from people who know everything about cricket," he said.

"(But) I don't know why I seem to be so popular. I certainly didn't expect it to happen when I first came to play cricket. When I was younger, I just wanted to play cricket for England. Maybe that is my destiny. Not in a religious sense, it is general belief about how things happen," he said.

First Published: Aug 11, 2006 18:05 IST