Monty hopes for a friendly Aussie crowd

Published: Monday, September 25, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney: Britain's first Sikh international cricketer was accorded a warm welcome in India, the land of his origin, and spin sensation Monty Panesar is hoping that the otherwise hostile Aussie crowd would extend the same treatment for him when he tours Down Under for this year's Ashes.

Undaunted by the prospect of being targeted by the vociferous Aussie crowd, Monty said he gets motivated by the spectators and doesn't have problem with passionate crowd.

''In general, I look to take energy from crowds that are passionate about cricket. When you're in front of huge crowds, it's obviously a big motivation. I hope that most people in Australian cricket support the game in the right way. No one wants to see things that aren't right in the sport.

''In India, the crowds were big with a lot of people very passionate about the game. I hope it will be like that,'' Monty told Sydney Morning Herald.

Interestingly, the turbaned left-arm spinner is having sessions with a psychologist to help him prepare for a possible hostile crowd in Australia.

Monty was also disarming in his response when he was reminded that Aussie captain Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist have made it clear that they would go after the rookie spinner.

''It's just flattering that they've heard of me. Nothing that they've said will stop me from sticking to my game plan. But they are people who have achieved so much in the game. They are world-class players, more than anything, so for them to know me is great,'' he said with characteristic humility.

On his new-found celebrity status, Monty said, ''It was something I really enjoyed. At every Test venue, people came in new kinds of fancy dress and wearing patkas. There was a mask of me that people could download off the web, and it was quite amazing to look up into a crowd with that looking back at you.

It just goes to show that the profile of cricket is rising in this country.'' Expressing gratitude to his teammates, Monty said, ''I've been lucky in the sense that I am around players who have just won the Ashes. There is a lot you can learn from their experiences. I was in Australia with the Academy team last year. The ball bounces more than in England.

''I'll look to gain more knowledge from guys like Ashley Giles and others who have toured Australia before and are more aware of the conditions,'' he added.

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