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Talking Cricket: It's not quite the full Monty
9:12am Friday 24th September 2010 in Talking Cricket column
IT’S 61 days until the start of the Ashes and yesterday’s announcement of the England squad, an announcement made with all the sort of pomp and false sense of over importance normally associated with naming the shortlist for the best middle manager of a middling local authority, sets the pulse racing ahead of the big winter.
But while the excitement ahead of the battle with the Aussies whets the appetite, one aspect of the selection cannot really fill most cricket fans with unbridled joy.
Monty Panesar winning a recall to the England squad for the Ashes is, to me, not exactly the sort of move that will have the Aussies running in fear.
And while Panesar has enjoyed a good season down at Sussex there is one thing for certain, he will find the tracks Down Under somewhat different to the ones he has grown accustomed to at Hove.
But Panesar proved himself when he first burst onto the scene and it is all too easy to remember him as the comedy figure he eventually became.
He went through the sort of turmoil many spinners suffer before finally losing his place in the Test team after the first Test of the 2009 Ashes - a Test in Cardiff best remembered for Panesar and Jimmy Anderson blocking out the final dozen overs of the match to earn a draw.
And Monty is a better bet than Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid for the second spinner spot.
Rashid is a good bowler - but you can’t throw a rookie into the heat of Ashes battle in Australia when Ponting and company are stung from their battering last year.
But if the true king of spin Graham Swann can continue his impressive form - form that should surely see him named as ICC cricketer of the year early next month - then only one spinner will be needed as the Urn comes back to these shores.
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