Panesar completes Sussex move
England left-arm spinner Monty Panesar has completed his move from Northamptonshire to Sussex on a three-year contract, taking him through to 2012.
The 27-year-old changes counties after 10 years on the staff at Wantage Road.
Panesar had a year to run on his previous deal at Northants but, in the light of losing his ECB central contract in September and being left out of the England squad to tour South Africa, club and player agreed that a move was best for his "long-term considerations".
Omitted by England after the first npower Ashes Test at Cardiff, Panesar endured a miserable season in the LV= County Championship, taking just 18 wickets at an average of 59.44 for Northants, who finished third in Division Two.
Northants head coach David Capel said: “I have known and worked with Monty since he was a 16-year-old and have really enjoyed seeing his rise from determined youngster with potential to becoming a full England representative.
“Over the years we have spent many enjoyable hours working together and wish to thank him for his contributions to Northants.
“I am sad that Monty is moving on. However, as a coach and a supporter of English cricket I am sure that a move at this stage of his career is the right thing for Monty.
“I am sure he will relish the new challenge ahead of him. Everyone at Northants wishes him well and look forward to seeing Monty regaining his place in the England team."
Panesar, from Luton, made his Minor Counties debut for Bedfordshire in 1999 and earned a trial at Northants. He was handed a full contract in 2000 and formed potent spin attacks with Jason Brown and Graeme Swann whilst a student at Loughborough University.
Panesar forged a first-team place with impressive showings in the 2005 season, and was subsequently called up to the England squad for that winter’s tour of India. He has since taken 126 wickets in 39 Tests.
The player is currently serving as overseas player for Highveld Lions in South Africa.
Northants chief executive Mark Tagg added: “We have a strong squad coming together for next season with effectively two new players from 2009 in a fit-again David Sales and Mal Loye.
“The coach’s ability to identify and nurture talent has been evident over the last couple of seasons and we look forward to building again on the improvements shown last year.
“We consider Monty a great example of our ability to develop young players and a system that we are constantly improving and one which we are continuing to invest in and expand.
“I am delighted that this move has been conducted in good spirit and an understanding that the long-term considerations of the player and England are the most important aspects of this.”
Sussex, who were relegated from Division One of the championship last season either side of winning the Twenty20 Cup and NatWest Pro40, now hope a rejuvenated Panesar can help fill the void left by Mushtaq Ahmed and take them back to the top flight.
Sussex professional cricket manager Mark Robinson said: “I am very excited about the prospect of Monty joining us from 2010.
“It is a testament to the club that we are able to attract a player of Monty’s calibre and I am sure he will play a key part in helping us achieve our aims for the coming season.”