Panesar nets England recall for Pakistan series

FORMER Luton Town & Indians spinner Monty Panesar has been selected for England’s three-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates starting in January.

The 29-year-old, whose last Test came in July 2009 when he helped England to a draw against Australia at Cardiff, has been included as the second spinner ahead of Samit Patel.

National selector Geoff Miller said of the bowler, who has 126 Test wickets from 39 matches: “Monty’s selection comes off the back of a strong domestic season with Sussex and with the potentially spin-friendly conditions of Dubai and Abu Dhabi in mind.

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“But we will wait and see what the wickets are like and, if we need two spinners, they are there.”

Panesar, who was the LV County Championship Division One leading wicket-taker with Sussex, is currently in Australia with Randwick-Petersham and is looking to secure a deal with a Big Bash Twenty20 side for the New Year.

On his call-up, he tweeted: “Loving Sydney can’t wait for Dubai, appreciate everyone’s warm wishes and support, God bless...”

The spinner’s inclusion has won praise from England legend Ian Botham, who said: “It is great to see Monty getting on with things over in Australia and bowling overs.

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“People forget he has an exceptional record for England and is a very, very good spin bowler.

“It just so happens we’ve got another one in Graeme Swann who is doing the business.

“I’m always happy to have a chat with any player and Monty is so interested in the game he soaks it all up.

“England can only be stronger for having him as second spinner.”