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British press hails Monty as next big thing

Written by: Staff
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London, Mar 3 (UNI) The press here can't stop raving about the exploits of Monty Panesar, the first Sikh to play for England, in the ongoing Test match against India in Nagpur, hailing him as the next big thing in English cricket and a serious threat to Ashley Giles' place in the team.

''Proving the adage that every cloud has a silver lining, Monty Panesar left no one in any doubt that he is a serious Test cricketer in the making. Even 12 months ago, no one who has seen him batting and fielding in county cricket would have believed that he could hold up an end with the bat for 43 balls in a Test match and field without blemish,'' ''The Times'' wrote.

His detremined resistance against Indian bowlers came in for praise from the press here, which was quite impressed with the Sikh, who asked his granny to pray for him in the Gurudwara after landing here.

''There's a new Full Monty in town - and he's the 'joke' batsman who became a tail-end hero for England,'' wrote the ''Mirror'', adding that, ''Panesar's courage and common sense enabled Paul Collingwood to take the last 21 steps to heaven and they celebrated by keeping India in the field until 36 minutes after lunch.'' The man himself was, however, modest about his contribution saying,''When I got out there I was concentrating only on not giving my wicket away and trying to give Colly as much of the strike as possible. He gave me lots of advice on how to play the various bowlers and kept me going.'' Panesar, who has a batting average of less than eight in first-class cricket hung on to make nine runs but more importantly saved his wicket for Collingwood to hit his maiden Test hundred.

The ''Independent'' called his performance spellbinding and praised him for staying on despite not being the ideal batting partner for Collingwood.

That's not all, the left-arm spinner's bowling fetched him even more applause and was called better than Giles' by the ''Guardian''.

''Panesar bowled with accuracy and intelligence, and - with Ashley Giles watching back in London from the Sky studios - he did it for most of the time from round the wicket, which opened up the possibility of lbws,'' wrote the daily.

The ''Times said that the spinner gave enough signs that he was the future of English spin attack.

''He left no doubt that Giles is no longer the only spin bowler in England who can be seriously considered for Test duty. It is greatly to his credit that he has shown the character to buckle down and do something about the weaker elements in his game,'' said ''The newspaper said.

The daily also applauded the bowler's natural ability to bowl at the right speed which was quite visible in his spell.

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