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Panesar trying to keep focus on game

The Indian series may have shot him into limelight, but he feels it is 'important' to keep his feet on the ground.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 09:41 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Success on his maiden tour of India has shot him into limelight but England's upcoming spinner Monty Panesar has not allowed the attention to distract him from his endeavour to cement a place in the Test squad.

Panesar, the first Sikh ever to play for England, said he realised it was important to keep his feet on the ground and not get carried away by the hype surrounding his debut.

"Winning the Test match in Mumbai was a special moment for us as a team and it was brilliant to get the draw in the Test series," he said.

"There has been attention but I just try to do as much as I can and focus on the game. I've been trying to focus on my cricket, keep my feet on the ground and not to get ahead of myself," he told BBC Sport.

The left-armer met with fair success, taking the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in his first Test.

But Panesar realises that after a strong start he must consolidate now.

"I have to keep training, keep working on all areas of my game and try to bowl well," he added.

With first-choice spinner Ashley Giles struggling to recover from a hip injury, Panesar could easily be part of England's Test plans in both the short and long term.

Panesar is already working in that direction and is keen to make a strong start with Northamptonshire to gain a Test place against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

On the attention that he got in India, he said, "it's not that hard to recognise me with the beard and the bandana! But people follow the game quite religiously out there and it's nice to be somewhere they have a passion for cricket," the 23-year-old said.

First Published: Apr 14, 2006 18:29 IST