MONTY PANESAR will look to become England’s lucky charm again this winter after earning a recall to the squadfor the Ashes series in Australia.
The left-arm spinner hasn’t played for England since his batting heroics with James Anderson to help save the first Test of the 2009 Ashes series in Cardiff.
Panesar is joined in the 16-man party by paceman Chris Tremlett, who won the last of his three caps in 2007. He gets the nod over Yorkshire’s Ajmal Shahzad, who drops down to the Performance squad.
At 6ft 7in, Tremlett adds even more height to the pace attack – indeed with Stuart Broad (6ft 5in) and Steven Finn (6ft 7in), they make up the tallest trio of bowlers in England history.
Tremlett’s Surrey team-mate Steven Davies takes the reserve wicketkeeping slot over Craig Kieswetter, while fit-again Ian Bell and Yorkshire seamer Tim Bresnan make up the party.
But it was the inclusion of Panesar which proved the most romantic – just one year after his departure from Northamptonshire left his career at a crossroads. he 28-year-old, who has 126 wickets in 39 Tests for England, has revived his fortunes at Sussex and forced his way back into the fold with 52 wickets in the County Championship this season to help the south coast team win promotion back to Division One.
He got the nod over Kent’s James Tredwell and Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid, who misses out altogether despite his excellent domestic form.
“Monty deserves his opportunity to assume the role as England’s second spinner behind Graeme Swann,” said chairman of selectors Geoff Miller.
“Monty has gone away and worked on his bowling since his last England appearance and he continues to be an attacking threat with the ball in his hand.”
Elsewhere, Jonathan Trott and Steven Finn were handed central contracts for the first time, but the biggest surprise was the omission of Eoin Morgan, who loses out to Bell.
Instead, Morgan is one of six players with incremental contracts, including Ravi Bopara, Luke Wright and Michael Yardy, who will automatically earn a full contract if they make enough international appearances.