Monty Panesar has been recruited by Cricket Australia as a spin-bowling consultant for their tour of India next month, after spending his winter as a club cricketer in Sydney.
Panesar, 34, played an integral role in England’s memorable series win in India in 2012-13, claiming 17 wickets with his left-arm spin in the final three Tests to help engineer a come-from-behind triumph.
However, he made the last of his 50 Test appearances at Melbourne during the 2013-14 Ashes, and was not considered for selection for England’s recent 4-0 defeat in India, despite making a return to first-class cricket for Northamptonshire last summer, following a spate of well-documented personal issues.
Panesar’s recruitment to Australia’s ranks came at the behest of Pat Howard, Cricket Australia’s high performance manager, whose team were whitewashed 4-0 on their last tour to India four years ago, and recently succumbed to a 3-0 loss in similarly spin-friendly conditions in Sri Lanka.
According to The Australian, Panesar will travel to the Centre of Excellence this week to work with their young left-arm spinner Stephen O’Keefe, as well as Matt Renshaw, the opening batsman who was cleared of concussion on Sunday, following the incident that led to his withdrawal from the third Test against Pakistan.
“Having Monty come up is a nice way to kickstart the squad’s thinking about playing in India,” Howard told the newspaper. “We want the batsmen to be thinking about what the bowlers will be trying to do to them over there and Monty can engage them that way as well as with the bowlers.”
“Phil Jaques will run the sessions with Matt, Monty and SOK, Phil has some nice ideas about how to challenge the batsmen,” Howard added. “In Australia we love big turners, but the successful bowlers like [Rangana] Herath and [Ravi] Ashwin are more likely to get you lbw or bowled than any other way, their accuracy and their length is absolutely outstanding.”
Panesar was one of nine wickets for O’Keefe during their ongoing Grade match between Manly and Campbelltown Camden at the weekend.
“He was brilliant on the weekend and must think cricket is an easy game after taking 9 for 54,” Panesar said.