Panesar on a learning curve
Monty Panesar hopes further work on the sub-continent will improve his all-round skills as an international spinner.
Having been left out of the one-day section of the tour of New Zealand, left-armer Panesar is on the England Lions trip to India, the destination for the senior side later this year.
The 25-year-old has not enjoyed as much success in Asia as some people expected since making his international bow two years ago, averaging in excess of 50 runs per wicket in both his maiden Test series in India and this winter’s campaign in Sri Lanka.
It is hoped the next month will offer rehabilitation of form and confidence, starting with the three-day warm-up contest against a Mumbai XI which begins on Tuesday.
“The more you bowl in these conditions, the more successful you will become,” said Panesar, who joins the Test tour of New Zealand in late February.
“The wickets are slower and they don’t have the bounce they have back in England, so trying to vary the pace and use different angles - these are things I need to gradually develop.
“Generally players from the sub-continent are the best players of spin: very wristy, good users of the crease and skilful.
“As a cricketer you want to be faced with challenges and overcoming them is what makes you improve.
“I haven’t changed anything since I first came into international cricket. More than anything, I have just tried to create an awareness of different batsmen and how they play me in different situations.”
ECB performance director David Parsons believes Panesar, whose 81 Test wickets in 23 Tests is identical to that of Muttiah Muralitharan’s career start, will find it easier to develop tactically away from the spotlight of international cricket.
“I hadn’t been to Sri Lanka before, so I wasn’t used to the conditions,” said Panesar.
“They were new and we were up against really great players like Kumar Sangakkara, who was rated as the number one in the world.
“It was a great experience for me. I am still relatively new to international cricket and going to places like that, where I can learn, is something that excites me and motivates me.”
England’s second string, which also includes internationals such as Liam Plunkett and Ed Joyce, face West Zone and Central Zone in their bid to become the first foreigners to win the Duleep Trophy.
“No overseas team has won this competition but we have a side looking to do very well,” added Panesar.
“Obviously with no overseas team winning it shows just how tough the Duleep Trophy is, and we are going to come up against some very good cricketers.”