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Monty set to lead the Asian charge in English cricket

By Staff
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London, Apr 19 (UNI) After becoming the first Sikh to play for England, Monty Panesar said he plans to inspire many more from the large British-Asian community here to take up the game and aspire to be a part of the national team.

''If seeing me play for England encourages young Asians to believe they can play for England, then that is fantastic. I am not the first, obviously there was Nasser Hussain before me, but it can only be a good thing,'' he was quoted by the Guardian as saying.

Panesar, who made his debut against India in the recently concluded tour, has drawn as much attention for his Asian roots as for his off-spin. He took the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar on his debut and is now being seen as a worthy replacement of regular spinner Ashley Giles if the latter fails to recover from his hip injury.

The 23-year-old said he was working hard to make his mark at the domestic level so as to impress the national selectors. He said he hopes to remain in the selectors' eyes as a national prospect.

''I am looking to have a big season for my county and hopefully stay in the reckoning with England as well. I will be judged on my performances and I know that,'' he said.

Meanwhile, England's regular captain Michael Vaughan said he could see the spark in the young bowler and felt Panesar had all the required attributes to be in the team.

''Monty has got something about him, both as a bowler and as a lad. He is a great person to have around the team. To have someone with his ability is very exciting for English cricket,'' Vaughan said.

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