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No identity crisis for Panesars ?at home?

Make no mistake, the Panesars will root for England as ?who doesn?t want his son to win?

india Updated: Mar 12, 2006 19:27 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta

Paramjit Singh Panesar left for England from Ludhiana chasing what can be called, the big Punjabi dream of making it big abroad. And after almost three decades, he saw his son Monty Panesar realising his dream for him. Quite naturally, Panesars are celebrating -- not only in England but in Punjab and Haryana as well. "It's a moment of great joy for us to see Monty in action, especially in Punjab, and we would ensure there is enough support for him when he takes the field," said Paramjit.

And surely there would be enough support, as Monty will have over 30 of his family rooting for him in the stands. While his parents and sister have flown in from England, his grandparents (both paternal and maternal) have come in from across Punjab and Haryana to cheer him on.

The media swooped on them as soon as they entered the stadium on Thursday. "It feels great to get so much attention. I left the country as an anonymous person, but now we are getting as much attention as do the most celebrated people of the country," gushed Paramjit Singh.

But this moment of joy and popularity hasn't come on a platter. "I have seen great hardships for almost three years after I left for England. I was neither academically nor professionally qualified enough, so I had taken up a small job in a car factory in Luton, located in the periphery of London. Besides, language was another problem and I sometimes I used to be so frustrated that I would cry for hours together. It was tough time and I thought I had ruined my life by coming here," said Paramjit.

"I gave up the factory job in sheer frustration after three years and started afresh as a carpenter. And fortunately things started looking up. I also took up plumbing jobs and gradually entered into construction," he said.

"It was roughly around that time that I married Gursharan Kaur and she brought me luck and soon we were financially quite comfortable," he said.

But wasn't it tough to adjust in an alien culture? "I don't think I had to face any problems in fitting into the English society. My initial frustration was just due to my poor financial health and language. Once it was sorted out, I didn't face many problems. I would rather say that the English are more honest and they show more respect to the talent of a person," said Paramjit.

As for Monty's progress as a cricketer, he said: "Monty grew up watching me play for a local club. He would often accompany me to the club and observe keenly. And soon he was crossing one hurdle after the other before finally making it to the England team," he said.

"It was the greatest day of my life when he made it to the team. I felt that all the hardships I faced have been rewarded," he said. His family members back home in India were no less ecstatic. "I have no interest in cricket and haven't seen a cricket match in my life, but I couldn't hold myself back with my boy playing here," said Gurdial Kaur, Monty's grandmother. Would she cheer for England then? He may be playing for England, but hasn't he done us all proud by becoming the first Sikh to make it to the English team?"

There could be no doubts who his father Paramjit Singh would be cheering for, though. He came sporting a T-shirt with England emblazoned across, as did his sister Charanjit Kaur. "All parents want their children to win …so we will certainly be cheering for England," he said trying to get past the crowd of mediapersons surrounding him.

First Published: Mar 12, 2006 19:27 IST