November 15, 2012
Horse 1402 - Why Didn't They Pick Monty?
Occasionally through reasons unknown to modern science, a nation via a mysterious act of randomness will produce a cricket player who although does well in their own country, is utterly perfect at playing on the pitches of some foreign land. Terry Alderman was like this for Australia in that he excelled on the softer pitches of England, Graeme Gooch performed better on the harder pitches of the West Indies and Australia.
Monty Panesar although already being a fine English cricketer, it seems was bred for playing on the sandier pitches of the sub-continent but for some reason known only to the ECB, they have picked Samit Patel over Panesar.
Monty has a first class average a full eight runs lower than Patel and I suspect that the reason for this, is more to do with him working harder at his bowling than Patel.
Actually if you take a more detailed look at Panesar's bowling we find that 66 or his 142 Test wickets have all either been Bowled or LBW; that should have been crucial in Ahmedabad and England have been made to look foolish.
He also has something which given the whole debacle with Kevin Petersen, would have been vital - cheerfulness.
England has this nasty habit to completely lose heart in the field when they are being tonked to all parts nether and yon. Monty though, is able to keep his head when those around him are losing theirs, all the while keeping a smile on his face.
Even after one session on the opening day's play when Gambir and Sehwag had put together 120 without loss, you could already see that this was an England side which had dropped their heads as though they'd already been beaten. I can almost guarantee that Monty would not have done that.
Cricket is a fickle beast and even a side which is 330 without loss can be 337/7 just four overs later. I know this because I've seen Monty unchain that beast and let it run rampant. He is one of only a select Englishmen to have taken a 10-wicket Test haul.
Admittedly Yuvraj Singh has always looked a little weak against spin and I'm not sure exactly whether Pujara has faced quality spin at Test level but the fact remains that both of them remained not out at stumps and both looked quite settled; their reward was an unbeaten partnership of 40 as India ended on 323/4.
Quite frankly it should be about 285/8 because the best possible spinner for the conditions, isn't even playing in this match. Swann has done well with 4 wickets but if Bresnan is going for 5.6 an over in a Test Match, what is the point I ask you?
I'm looking at a second day probably full of dour cricket from England. India will go on with the solid start that they've made and will more than likely go beyond 500 on a pitch which they should have made 200 less than that because England didn't pick Monty.
Posted by Rollo at 23:45