Warne warns Monty can prove the Wizard in Oz

Published: Saturday, August 5, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Greeting Monty Panesar in the spinners' ''union'', senior exponent of the art Shane Warne warned his teammates that the youngster can prove the real Wizard in Oz when England tours Australia for the Ashes series.

''If I was an England supporter -- which I'm not -- I would be getting very excited about Monty Panesar. He has a real chance of being successful in international cricket, and by that I mean consistently over a long period, not just in the odd game here and there,'' Warne wrote in his column for The Times.

''To me, he is the new Monty Python: something completely different. Three things strike me straight away. Firstly, he has that bit of spunk about him. Secondly, he loves bowling. He will need that when he has to bowl long spells on flat pitches. And thirdly, he is very astute at reading a situation. He has good control and when conditions suit, that allows him to bowl faster and still spin the ball,'' he added.

Elated with the emergence of another spin prospect in the horizon, Warne the elder statesman said, ''I always love to see a young spinner making an impression. I think of Monty as another member of our union. He bowled really well to get those eight Pakistan wickets at Old Trafford, my happiest hunting ground in four Ashes series in England. But Headingley Carnegie will be a different test for him in more ways than one.'' He, however, was sure that Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer had already planned something to tackle the first Sikh cricketer in England shirt after he stung them in the Old Trafford Test.

''Pakistan have also had a good look at him and knowing Bob Woolmer he will have hatched a plan (if not two or three). I wouldnt be surprised if Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf try to get after him. They like to play aggressively. So far nobody has really taken on Monty and it will be a good test of his character to see how he responds,'' he said.

Warne admitted selectors would have a difficult task at hand when England's frontline spinner Ashley Giles recovers even though the leggie was candid in his observation that ''Ashley is a bit negative for my liking at times.'' He, however, suggested England a two-pronged spin attack in Adelaide and Sydney.

''Panesar and Giles could play together because they are not too similar, but the selectors may want somebody who spins it the other way, such as Shaun Udal or Jamie Dalrymple, who made quite a good start in the one-day games against Sri Lanka earlier this summer, or one of the young leg spinners who are starting to come through,'' he said.

Warne also sounded apprehensive about Panesar's less than impressive batting and occasionally hilarious fielding.

''I can understand why people want to enjoy Monty for what he is and encourage his spin bowling. Thats fine, but in international cricket these days you have to be at least competent in all areas.

Even if you cant take blinding catches in the slips you must be able to stop the ball, hold the bread and butter chances and throw hard.

''On the batting front at the very least you have to make the bowler get you out. Nobody will expect Monty to become the next Ricky Ponting, but if he gets a tight defence he can hang around while somebody plays shots at the other end. Im sure that will come as long as he keeps working hard,'' Warner added.

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