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Hungry Panesar returns with interest

England Lions

Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar's "reconnection" with the England set-up began in earnest at Lions training ahead of today's match

Monty Panesar is hoping to showcase improvements to his all-round game during England Lions’ tour match against Bangladesh, which gets under way today in Derby.

Panesar has not featured for England since helping snatch a draw in the first Ashes Test at Cardiff last summer, where his last-wicket rearguard with James Anderson outshone his contribution with the ball.

Since then the spinner has worked even harder on his batting and fielding in an attempt to become more of a three-dimensional player.

He has also embraced a change of scenery, with a stint in South Africa’s domestic competition during the winter and a change of county - from Northamptonshire to Sussex - this season.

A return to the Test fold is an obvious long-term ambition but, for the time being, Panesar’s goals are more immediate.

“I’ve been looking forward to this match and to reconnecting with the England set-up,” said the 28-year-old.

“The Ashes Test in Cardiff helped me with my confidence and with my batting and I’ve been working hard on that - as well as my fielding - to enhance my contribution to the team.

“I’ve settled in very nicely at Sussex and I’ve had the opportunity to bowl some overs and rediscover my rhythm. I really want to reconnect and enjoy my cricket again.

“At the moment I’m enjoying playing a supporting role for Sussex and hopefully, later in the summer when the pitches get a bit drier, I can get some more wickets and make an impact.”

Reflecting on his time in South Africa, Panesar added: “I wanted to continue my development and improve my knowledge of the game so I went to Highveld Lions in South Africa and took the responsibility of being an overseas player over there.

“Playing on different pitches against different batsmen helped me adapt my game.”

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