'Panesar turns ball more than any Eng spinner' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Panesar turns ball more than any Eng spinner'

Ian Botham has backed Monty, saying the Sikh is the answer to England's quest for match-winning spinner. Is Monty the best?

india Updated: Aug 02, 2006 12:08 IST

One of the greatest all-rounders of all time Ian Botham has backed left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, saying the Sikh is the answer to England's quest for a match-winning spinner.

"It's time to stop patronising Monty Panesar about the need to improve his batting or fielding and accept him for what he is -- the match-winning spinner we've craved for years," Botham said in his column in the Daily Mirror.

Botham said with his sterling performance, Panesar should be "undroppable".

"To think that England were even toying with the idea of leaving out Panesar at Old Trafford beggars belief, but now he has taken two five-wicket hauls in the last three Tests he should be undroppable," he said.

The former England captain criticised national coach Duncan Fletcher for not giving enough credit to Panesar.

"Coach Duncan Fletcher was restrained in his praise of Monty's performance, recycling his view that international cricketers need to be multi-dimensional.

"Of course you don't want liabilities in the field or tail-enders who can barely hold a bat, but to win Test matches it's often helpful if bowlers take wickets - and eight in one match is pretty handy by any stretch of the imagination," he said.

Botham even went on to say that at Old Trafford "Panesar turned the ball more than any England spinner since Derek Underwood."