Friday, 29 August 2008

Spin On, Monty

Years ago, whenever A.J. Lamb finally fell foul of the England selectors and was sent back to Northamptonshire for one of his temporary periods of exile, he took out his frustrations on a hapless succession of county attacks, racking up the runs and inspiring the county to greater things.

These days, whenever we get Monty Panesar back from England duty, we get a disinterested spin bowler who barely seems capable of turning one off crazy paving, let alone carving through batting orders. Panesar is at the age (26) where his batting and fielding are clearly not going to get any better - the former is pathetic while the latter is stunningly incompetent and defies belief that any international athlete could be so uncoordinated; he would not look out of place at the Special Olympics.

Panesar is reportedly undecided about committing his future to the county. Whether Northants still need him is a moot point because - apart from his marketing value - what does Panesar offer the team?

Prior to the game with Glamorgan he had taken four wickets in four games - all of which had come in the same innings. He is a one-dimensional cricketer who offers little in limited over games (had we not been forced to select him against Leicestershire in the Friends Provident Trophy as part of a three-pronged spin attack we might have fared better) and is at the stage where he appears to be going backwards. As Shane Warne noted, Panesar has not played 33 test matches - he's played the same match 33 times.

Panesar has reportedly been offered the most lucrative contract for a bowler ever at Wantage Road and it's hard to see what he's done to justify it. When was the last time he won a game for the county?

He might not be in terminal decline but he's hardly developing into a lethal weapon. Adil Rashid is on the rise and Panesar's place in England's plans may soon be in jeopardy - if he fails to secure the second spinner's berth for the one day series in India his limited overs career may essentially be over at the highest level.

Do Northants really need to break the bank for a one-dimensional prima donna who now seems to regard playing for the county as somewhat beneath him? Perhaps it would be in everyone's interests if Monty decamped to Edgbaston where he could learn at the feet of his illustrious predecessor in the England side, the Great Gilo, and be schooled in the arts of left arm spin.
Personally, if Panesar goes, I won't be missing him at all.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Interesting perspective - I can see where you're coming from. His CC form is poor; he is your third-choice one-day spinner. Not the county star he should be, alas - even on those turning pitches!