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Posts Tagged ‘monty panesar’

Monty Panesar may have been cut adrift by England despite winning the Ashes for them with the bat, but he’s on a new mission now – trying to bring success to the Highveld Lions. Monty looks set to make his debut in tomorrow’s match against the Chevrolet Warriors, and it will be interesting to see how he copes with the pressure of being the side’s star turn.

With Monty facing a difficult winter out in the metaphorical cold, success in South Africa could be just the kick-start he needs to get back onto the international scene. Overhauling Swann and Rashid will take a serious improvement in Panesar’s technique, and some time playing overseas could help him add some much-needed variety to his bowling.

Panesar’s new team-mates will need a strong performance to get a win against the Warriors, who have just recorded a victory over the Dolphins, with their performance in the field particularly impressive. They won’t need to worry about facing Wayne Parnell, though, as he is suspended for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.

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The ECB’s decision not to offer central contracts, nor even incremental contracts, to Steve Harmison or Monty Panesar has left both with their international futures in doubt. Harmison has been rumoured to be considering international retirement in any case, but Panesar now looks to have been cut adrift, particularly when the fact that Adil Rashid has been given an incremental contract is taken into account. Being England’s third-choice spin bowler isn’t a particularly attractive proposition, but at least he’ll always have Cardiff.

Just in case anyone thought the ECB were being radical, though, they gave full central contracts to Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell.

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The Urn

Congratulations England, farewell Flintoff, hard luck Hussey, and hats off to young Broad.

It hasn’t been the greatest series ever, but winning the Ashes still means a lot. Of course, it’s all thanks to Monty’s last stand at Cardiff

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In all the excitement about England’s remarkable batting to save the First Test (Monty Panesar faced 35 balls, for goodness’ sake), and all the inevitable claims about the effect on the remainder of the series, it’s important to remember that the finish was only as dramatic as it was because England failed spectacularly both in taking Australian wickets and in defending their top-order wickets.

It is to be hoped, as well, that the failure of the bowlers isn’t overshadowed by today’s events (not even by the Ryanair protest which may have saved England). Australia dominated the match from lunch on Day 2, took 14 more wickets than the hosts managed, and nearly won having conceded 435 runs.

Overall, I think an Australian series victory is still pretty much nailed-on, but for now I’m clinging to Paul Collingwood‘s innings as a sign that there is at least some mental strength in the England side. That and the thought of Ricky Ponting being upset (which he probably isn’t – the Aussies will undoubtedly win at Lord’s anyway).

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Much has been made in the build-up to the Ashes about the supposed weakness of Australia’s bowling attack, but it is quickly becoming apparent that England’s isn’t quite as good as some people would have you believe.

Flintoff has bowled plenty of overs without looking particularly menacing; Panesar‘s only wicket was more or less self-inflicted by Ponting; Swann hasn’t proved as dangerous to the left-handers as was predicted, and has been outperformed so far with the ball by Nathan Hauritz, Australia’s alleged weak link; Jimmy Anderson has been Jimmy Anderson, threatening for a spell then innocuous until the second new ball; Stuart Broad has gone for nearly 4 an over.

If England want to bowl Australia out twice in a Test this series, then someone needs to step up. Graham Onions may be feeling confident about his prospects for the Second Test (as indeed may Harmison).

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England’s selectors have announced their 13-man squad for the First Ashes Test at Cardiff, and there’s good news and bad news.

The good news is mainly for Graham Onions – his performance against the West Indies (as well as a strong start to the season for Durham) has seen him included, and also for Monty Panesar, with whom Onions is competing for the last bowling slot, albeit with conditions rather than form likely to be the final arbiter of the decision about who plays.

The bad news is for Steve Harmison (although he was expecting it, as he should have been after being left out of the 17-man training squad) and for everyone who hates Ian Bell, who has been included despite managing only 20 runs in two innings against the Australians last week. Bell is very much the 13th man, but an injury to any of England’s top order could see him play a part.

The squad in full is as follows: Andrew Strauss, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Graham Onions, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann.

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Despite their central contracts, neither Steve Harmison nor Michael Vaughan were included in the England ‘pre-Ashes’ squad of 16 (not 17 as was reported at the weekend – does anyone know what went on there?) that was announced today. Although Geoff Miller has said that “[t]he door has not been closed on any player at this stage“, their exclusion more or less signals the end of both players’ hopes of featuring in the First Ashes Test in just over two weeks’ time.

Given that neither player really merits a place in the side at the moment, it isn’t a massive surprise that Harmison and Vaughan are both left out, but the selectors’ past loyalty to the stars of the 2005 series, along with the considerable investment made in both via their central contracts, had convinced many that there would be roles for both in the squad. Harmison does feature in the England Lions team to play Australia next week, but he is currently England’s sixth-choice pace bowler at best.

Amongst those who have been included, there number three spinners: Swann, Panesar and Rashid. The latter two are likely to be in direct competition for the role of second spinner now that Swann is well established in the side, and suggestions are being made in some quarters that Rashid’s superior batting ability may see him edge out Monty, something that would arguably portend the end of Panesar’s England career.

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Monty Panesar has not been included in England’s 13-man squad for the Second Test against the West Indies at Chester-le-Street, confirming that he is now very much England’s second choice spinner. The first choice (and man of the match at Lord’s), Graeme Swann, has burst onto the Test scene to supplant Panesar – with the latter now looking less likely than ever to feature in the Ashes frontline.

Amongst the reasons suggested for the selectors’ preference for Swann had been Panesar’s reluctance to set his own fields, which some amateur psychologists have pointed to as evidence of a mindset too fragile to withstand the inevitable Aussie onslaught of an Ashes series. More obviously, Swann has taken 33 wickets in his six Tests, whereas Panesar has taken only 11 in the period since Swann joined the England setup.

Geoff Miller ‘explains’ the selection here, although he doesn’t adequately explain what Ian Bell has done since the last Test squad was announced that justifies his recall.

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  • Derbyshire have brought in Stuart Law (who was cut loose by Lancashire) to boost their one-day firepower, but he won’t feature much in the County Championship. Charl Langeveldt will also be absent for at least three matches following his acquisition by Kolkatta for the IPL, but captain Chris Rogers is probably the best short-sighted colour-blind ginger cricketer in the world.
  • Gloucestershire, if anything, had an even worse season than Glamorgan, finishing rock bottom of the Championship in 2008. John Bracewell has a tough task on his hands to turn things around, but James Franklin’s arrival will help improve the standard of a bowling attack that struggled so much last year.
  • Northamptonshire struggled to win matches in 2008, so may be secretly hoping that Monty Panesar is dropped by England so that he can take key wickets for his county. The motley crew of Kolpaks and ‘Steelboks’ will otherwise have its work cut out to improve on last year’s showing.
  • Surrey find themselves back in Division Two once again, but the summer’s signings of Andre Nel – who will be available throughout the season – and Grant Elliot will boost their chances of promotion. Mark Ramprakash, of course, is still there, and now that he has passed the 100 centuries milestone, his county will be hoping that the part-time ballroom dancer returns to his form of 2006 and 2007.

A Division One preview will follow tomorrow.

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It’s more than a year now since I named my 11 to watch, so it’s probably time to weigh up (briefly) who’s lived up to their potential and who hasn’t:

Nasir Jamshed is still under 20, but had little chance to impress this year given Pakistan’s effective exile from international cricket; Virat Kohli made some waves, and is still well-placed for a call-up to the Indian Test side after some good ODI performances and a strong showing in domestic cricket; Tamim Iqbal has shown some promise, but Bangladesh’s continued position at the bottom of the cricketing pile has frustrated his ability to shine; Fawad Alam is probably the one that got away; Steve Davies has finally been called up to the England side, and looked good for a while when he got his chance; Adil Rashid has also won some recognition from the ECB, and will probably play Test cricket in the next year or two; Beau Casson has sunk from the international picture seemingly without trace; Sulieman Benn gave England a torrid time in the Tests and looks set to be a part of the Windies side for some time to come; Tim Southee hasn’t quite lived up to the early hype but still shows promise; Ishant Sharma continues to scare batsmen (especially Ricky Ponting) the world over; Mitchell Johnson continues to do the same to everyone that isn’t Australian.

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V.S. Naipaul could hardly have scripted it better for India. The crowd favourite tore up the fourth-innings rulebook, the young gun and the Mumbai legend completed the feat. For Indian fans, this must have been cathartic in the extreme – a famous triumph against ridiculous odds, victory from the jaws of defeat.

Best of all, references to ‘the Security Situation’ declined rapidly
from Day 3 onwards. Strauss, Sehwag and Slow Over Rate were the only
S-words on anyone’s lips.

Continuing the alliteration, Sehwag’s Sunday slogfest (youtube here) set things up for India to acheive the seemingly impossible and chase down 387, but it was England’s bowlers who arguably made the largest contribution to the home side’s success. Panesar (0 for 105 from 27 overs), Harmison and Anderson have all come in for some criticism, suggesting that Broad will return immediately to the side once fit, and there are also likely to be some changes in the England batting order before the Second Test.

For the moment, though, it seems churlish to detract from the Indian
achievement
by dwelling on the English failure. Even though it was a cataclysmic failure.

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England were looking a little wobbly in their second innings of Second Test at 43/3, but arguably the two least glamourous batsmen in England’s lineup put them back on track. Strauss and Collingwood, neither of them what you might call marquee players, put on an unbroken partnership of 129 runs to leave the tourists with a 247-run lead, 7 second-innings wickets in hand, and two whole days of play left.

Strauss in particular seems to have rediscovered his best form – he now has nearly 200 runs in the match, which is remarkable given his relative lack of preparation. Collingwood, under pressure from Shah for his place in the side, slipped somewhat under India’s radar to make a solid 60 not out. If the two of them can stay there for a period tomorrow morning, the hosts could find themselves with a very large target to chase.

Earlier in the day, India had been dismissed for 241, 75 runs short of England’s first innings total. Flintoff and Panesar both finished with three wickets as only Dhoni and Harbhajan offered any real resistance, putting on 75 for the 7th wicket.

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