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I'm excited to bowl against India: Panesar

Luton-born, but with Sikh roots, the left-arm spinner, Monty Panesar is set to the land of his fathers but not as a friend this time.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 18:56 IST
Nabanita Sircar
Nabanita Sircar

Indian turbanator Harbhajan Singh will have competition during the India-UK cricket series in February/March. The England team has their own Punjab da puttar in Monty Panesar.

Rudyard Kipling's claim that "East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet", will be tested. Luton-born, but with Sikh roots in the Punjab, the left-arm spinner is set to the land of his fathers but not as a friend this time. Panesar, 23, said: "I'm really excited at the thought of an opportunity to bowl at such great players. I've played in India before with the Under-19s and it was a good experience for me. I'm proud of being the first Sikh to be picked for England, but my focus is on the cricket."

As the squad's third spinner, his opportunities in India could be limited. Unless the pitches are deliberately under-prepared to make them turn, Michael Vaughan will want to play his four-pronged pace attack. That leaves room for just one spinner which, providing he is fit, is Ashley Giles.

Panesar has long been the choice to fill England's spin void, according to his fans in Northamptonshire. In fact his county coach, Kepler Wessels, believes he should have gone to Pakistan. "He's one of the few spinners in England who is not a containing spinner and he is able to take wickets," Wessels said. "He is a player of immense ability and for the latter part of last season was the best spinner in the country. He's very tall and he gets good bounce and turn."

Panesar's selection coincided with the appointment of David Parsons as national spin bowling coach. Parsons currently coaches England Under-15s and has worked extensively with Terry Jenner, Shane Warne's spin guru. His role will be to develop a spin strategy for all levels of the game.

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 18:56 IST