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Monty, the first Sikh to play for England

The spinner made his Test debut for England against India at Nagpur on Wednesday.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 17:01 IST

Mudhsuden Singh 'Monty' Panesar became the first Sikh cricketer to play for England when he made his debut in the first Test against Indiain Nagpuron Wednesday.

Panesar, 23, found a place in the England squad, thanks to the absence of veteran Ashley Giles who had to undergo hip surgery late last year.

The Luton-born Panesar, who traces his ancestral roots to Ludhiana in Punjab, earned his place in the team on the back of an impressive performance in domestic championship last season when he picked 46 wickets at 21.54.

Panesar returned 12-142 on his first-class debut for Northamptonshire four years ago, but his career suffered a brief slump soon after that.

But 2005 saw him come back into the reckoning and Giles' exit opened the doors for him.

His Test appearance would have triggered jubilation in Ludhiana where his grandparents Hari Singh and Manjit Kaur live.

Ian Blackwell, another left-arm spinner, and Alastair Cook, a 21-year old opening batsman from Essex, were the other two players who made their Test debut today.

India pacer Shantakumaran Sreesanth also earned his maiden Test cap.

First Published: Mar 01, 2006 17:01 IST