Panesar trying to keep Monty mania in check

Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

More images
Manchester:Monty Panesar has said keeping his emotions under control is proving one of the biggest challenges of his soaring Test career.

The 25-year-old left-arm spinner enhanced his growing reputation with 10 for 187 in England's 60-run third Test win against West Indies at Old Trafford.

That saw Panesar become the first England spinner since Phil Tufnell against Australia at The Oval in 1997 to take 10 wickets in a Test match.

Off the field Panesar, the first Sikh to play Test cricket for England, is as far removed in character from Tufnell as is possible to imagine, being a non-drinker and non-smoker, unlike the former Middlesex left-armer whose private life became the subject of some lurid newspaper headlines.

But Panesar is as passionate as anyone when it comes to playing cricket and that enthusiasm, his manifest eagerness to do well, coupled with his undoubted skill has already made him a cult hero with fans around the world.

Whereas Tufnell would sometimes turn his anger on team-mates if things weren't going well, the only outlet Panesar has for his emotions on the cricket field appears to be with his frenzied appeals.

As Shivnarine Chanderpaul, dropped on 18 by Panesar, slowly and methodically batted West Indies towards what would have been a Test record fourth innings victory total of 455, England's spinner became increasingly frustrated as a succession of pleas were turned down by Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar.

And at one point Panesar charged down the pitch to celebrate a 'catch' in the slips when a wickedly bouncing delivery had clipped Chanderpaul's helmet.

Players, who risk being fined or suspended if their conduct towards officials falls foul of the International Cricket Council code of conduct, are supposed to appeal to the umpire's face before celebrating a wicket.

Dar, after rejecting Panesar's appeal, had a word with the bowler and appeared to be telling him to calm down.

"He was saying maybe appeal before I start celebrating. I guess I get a little bit excited when I'm out there," explained Panesar, whose sprint down the pitch when he takes a wicket gives the appearance of hyper-active puppet whose strings have just been cut.

Panesar has been mocked for his poor fielding and now, in England at least, every time he succesfully gathers and returns the ball he is cheered, albeit in a supportive fashion, by spectators.

However, on Monday, he surprised a few people by dismissing Darren Sammy caught and bowled following the all-rounder's well-hit drive.

"I was disappointed with the catch I dropped. I felt I was there and I should have taken it," explained Panesar, described by West Indies captain Daren Ganga as one of the top three spinners in the world.

"Today's (Monday's) one, I guess it stuck in my hand and I was glad to get a caught and bowled."

Rival captains heap praise on Monty:England captain Michael Vaughan and his West Indies' counterpart Daren Ganga joined forces to praise left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, who returned with a match haul of 10 for 187 to help the home side wrap up a series victory at Old Trafford.

His probing left-arm spin gave England an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the four-Test series after West Indies were dismissed for 394 while chasing a world record 455 to win.

"He's becoming pretty special and a real nice left-arm spinner," Vaughan told reporters. "He bowls in good areas and give him a bit of rough and he can hit it."

"He's just great to have in the team. I knew that chasing that amount of runs with him in the side would always be very difficult for them.

"I know he got six-for but I thought they played him pretty well. If they hadn't played him as well as they did he could have ended up with a real big bag of wickets."

Ganga was full of admiration for the way Panesar, who bowled unchanged on the final day, had maintained such pressure on his batsmen.

"He's definitely there in the top three (spinners) as he's winning games for England," said Ganga. "He's having a heavy influence in terms of test matches that England have won. I definitely think he's a top-class spinner."


Write Comments