London, Oct.15 : England left-arm spinner Monty Panesar has decided to play club cricket in Sri Lanka ahead of his team's tour to India.
According to The Telegraph, Panesar had hoped to play in India's Ranji Trophy before December's Tests, but the rules governing overseas players are so arcane that he missed out.
India would have meant being closer to his England team-mates, but Sri Lanka is still less than a time zone away. "Monty is going to play in Sri Lanka for a month prior to going to India, which is a great opportunity for him," England coach Peter Moores confirmed.
"He wants to learn there through experience. He's been before and he knows there are tough conditions. He hopes to learn a lot and prepare himself for the Tests in India," Moores added. Panesar will go to Sri Lanka at the start of November, will play for the Bloomfield club in Colombo over a four-week period.
The idea of playing domestic cricket overseas before a tour is not new - Steve Harmison and Andrew Strauss both did it before last winter's tours - but the philosophy behind Panesar's visit probably is to become less one-dimensional by expanding both his knowledge and repertoire as a spin bowler.
Panesar, 26, has played 33 Tests and taken 114 Test wickets at an average of 31.95. He has got just 13 wickets at an average of 55 in six Tests on the sub-continent.