Mudhsuden Singh Panesar Profile
Born in England, of Indian-Sikh descent, Mudhsuden Singh Panesar, fondly called 'Monty' Panesar, made his international debut in and against the nation of his roots, India in 2006 and quickly shot to fame scalping the wicket of his childhood hero, Sachin Tendulkar on debut. Touted as England's most exciting spinner since Phil Tufnell, Monty has a short and simple run up coupled with a quick action and a dangerous arm ball.
Progressing through the ranks of Northamptonshire's youth teams, Monty had a blistering start to his first-class career finishing with match figures of 8/131 against Leicestershire on debut in 2001. But with few opportunities up for grabs, he had to wait for four more years before a prolific domestic season in 2005, during which he picked up 46 Championship wickets at 21.54, boosted his chances of national selection. He was subsequently selected for England's tour of India in 2006 where he had a decent outing and impressed one and all with his guile and pace variations. A decent outing against Sri Lanka at home was followed by a series-winning contribution of 17 wickets against Pakistan which included a brilliant spell of 8/93 at Old Trafford.
Consistent performances meant that he sealed his place as a first choice spinner in the English side. Monty was one of the few shining stars to emerge out of the 5-0 humbling of England at the hands of Australia in the 2006/07 Ashes where he became the first English spinner to scalp a five-for at the WACA. The good form continued as he ended up the home series against West Indies with 23 wicket from four Tests.
However, inconsistencies started to surface from then on and Swann's rise to fame against India in the 2008-09 season meant that Monty went out of favour to Swann and soon lost his central contract. He shifted county bases from Northamptonshire to Sussex and a brilliant 2010-11 saw him claw his way back to the England side. He was picked up as the second spinner for the UAE tour against Pakistan and a resurgent Monty silenced his critics with 14 wickets from just two matches in the series but his efforts went in vain as England were whitewashed 3-0. He played a crucial role in helping England achieve their first series win since 1984/85 against India on their home soil after finishing with 17 wickets in the series.
Strong and consistent performances by Swann along with his more than useful batting down the order, made sure that Panesar remained the second choice spinner for England until the former's surprise retirement mid-way during England's shambolic return Ashes in December 2013 when they were whitewashed 5-0. Monty Panesar had an all-new responsibility as the spin spearhead for England, although he rarely got a long rope.