Sachin~~s wicket highlight of the tour: Panesar

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Fresh from a successful Test debut against India, a jubiliant Monty Panesar said he had never, even in his wildest dreams, imagined that his first wicket would be of master blaster Sachin Tendulkar.

''It was a special moment,'' Panesar recalled in an interview to BBC Asian Network, ''On your Test debut you always dream of taking a wicket, but I never dreamed it would be Sachin Tendulkars,'' he said.

Panesar, who took 46 wickets playing for Northamptonshire before becoming the first Sikh to play for England, said he had fond memories of the tour during which he hogged the limelight for his good show on the field and his Indian roots off it.

''I always had an ambition to play for my country and it was very exciting to go on my first tour to India because I'd looked at a lot of Indian cricketers as role models,'' he said.

He admitted to being nervous initially but said the anxiety eased out after interacting with stand-in skipper Andrew Flintoff, who, according to him, was a binding force in the dressing room. Panesar described Freddie a fantastic captain earlier.

''I got a lot of encouragement from the rest of the team, which helped to calm the nerves and that showed the togetherness we have as a team. We try to help each other on the field and it's nice to be part of that,'' Panesar said.

Panesar also said the presence of his entire family in the stadium during the second Test at Mohali was the other major highlight of the tour.

''For my parents, seeing me play a Test match near where they were born in the second Test was special. They came to the Mohali Test, which I think was the first time they have ever been to a cricket stadium, and it was a great experience for them,'' he said.

The left-arm spinner said he is working hard to make a place for himself in the national team.

''I've just got to continue working at my game at Northants, keep working hard and give myself the best chance of playing for England again,'' Panesar said of his future plans.

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