Surrey paceman’s tour-ending injury allows England spinner to thrive on Test comeback
FORGOTTEN man Monty Panesar announced his return to the international fold after a two-and-a-half year absence yesterday by helping to bowl his side into a position of strength on the first day of the second Test against Pakistan – and later admitted he thought his England days were behind him.
Panesar, representing his country for the first time since the summer of 2009 at Test level, took 1-91 from 33 overs as Andrew Strauss’s side made light of losing what appeared to be a crucial toss, reducing the hosts to 256-7 by the close.
Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann took three wickets apiece, but it was Panesar’s dismissal of Taufeeq Umar which provided the highlight on the opening day of a match England must win to retain any hope of claiming the series.
“When you’re out of the England team you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t wonder if it was ever going to happen again, but these things do creep in and you do need good people around you to help you get through it,” admitted Panesar.
“There were times when self doubt crept in, and you wonder is it ever going to happen, and that is where people like Mark Robinson [Sussex coach] and Mushy [Mushtaq Ahmed, England spin bowling coach] have been great in protecting my self belief.
“It was good I didn’t find out on Tuesday night [I was playing] otherwise I would have been up all night practising my action in the mirror. In a sense I was making my second debut having been out of the team for such a long time.”
Panesar earned his unlikely recall after it emerged that seamer Chris Tremlett’s (left) back injury was serious enough to rule him out of the remainder of the tour and throw his own England career into doubt.
The 30-year-old Surrey paceman’s progress has been regularly stunted by a series of back complaints – his appearance in last week’s first Test defeat in Dubai was his first for six months.
Tremlett’s injury further reduces England’s bowling options looking ahead to the third Test with Tim Bresnan already having flown home early with an elbow injury.