Though my blog is meant for sikh dharma and sikhs in cricket, it is not purposefully that my thoughts are concentrated on Panessar.The current strugle of Monty for proving a couple of point is common to all of us who have lived or lives in western countries. It is essentially a strugle for proving your worth and capabilities to a crowd which is bent on proving otherwise. I have undergone the same agony in the field of science. However, there was a plus point that we sikhs have.That is the religious values, philosophy, doctrine, way of life that were inculcated in us by our gurus. Those same qualities have proved to be the success of Monty.As I reported in an early note, in his formative years of cricket, Monty sought the wisdom of a sikh scholar in Edmonton, Canada.He returned to England with new , awakened energy.His rising to stardom was phenomenal.Today, when every eyes on him some with suspicion, he has been able to work hard in his choosen field.
There are very few cricketers who expresss being religious and attribute their success to religion. I am not refering to the blessing of a god. But the hard work of concentration based on religious principles. Shivnarine Chanderpaul once explained the success behind his phenomenal concentration ability.It was the recital of mantras in the field to keep the mind focussed on one place.He was trained by a pandit ji in Guyana. Being a religious hindu who treasures the value of his religion Chanders managed to apply the positives of meditation in his craft.As reported by Simon Wilde after an interview with Monty,(http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2094-2300484,00.html ) the sensational sikh spinner will be in Canada after the current season to meet the sikh scholar in Edmonton. This humble silkh who is a lesson to all who aspire to reach the stardom has kept sikh traditions alive. As Wilde reported, he would be mixing cements in Canada to build a Gurudwara, the abode of god as a KAR SEWA required of a sikh, harvesting and being with friends away from cricket.This reflects another side of the eastern upbringing.Many Asians fear the loss of culture among their off springs brought up in western socities.But, Monty has been a successful model of integration and remaining who I am in my roots.It was not too long ago this man refused a beer to celebrate the victory in the England dressing room . As his friends say "Man is a vegetarian with untrimmed beard and unshorn hair", essential features of a devout sikh. These qualities inculcated in him might have helped him to be away from the glamour. If he will be successful to keep the balance, we will be lucky to see the best spinner ever produced by England.
The scheduled forthcoming series against Sri Lanka will hopefully provide the opprtunity write more about Harbhajan who has been off the shine in recent times. Turbanator number one will be in action soon in the tri series in Colombo against hosts and proteas
Returning to Monty,Monty has been able to turn the tables upside down.People look forwrad to him now as a matchwinner. Mighty Pakistanis majority of whom are ethnic Punjabis will find the vicious spin by yet another Punjabi born and raised in UK palatable or not.
"Cometh the hour, cometh the Monty" writes Simon Brigs on this new ray of hope in England cricket
"Monty Panesar, the people's champion, has the chance to prove his mettle today. England have a full day to bowl out Pakistan and settle this series with a game to go. On a wearing pitch, the man in the black patka could hold the key" Read more on this Daily Telegraph article
Come what may be the impression of pessimists, England standing captain STRAUS keeps faith on Monty Pannessar's ability.
“Things are teed up for a pretty good game of cricket,” Strauss, the captain, said. “We’re hopeful because the wicket has misbehaved a bit with the new ball and it’s only going to deteriorate further. It’s important that we expose their middle order early and if Monty [Panesar] bowls as he did in the first innings, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t pick up three or four wickets. I think I’d put us as favourites.
Finally, the right advice comes in relation to Monty affairs from the former England off spinner, Vic Marks in the form of " LEAVE MONTY ALONE SO HE CAN PROVE HIMSELF".
He says that he is not going to write on Patka man unless he scores a fifty,takes 5 wickets or pulls off a catch and requests his collegues to do the same.This is how Marks agree with my previous comment on Fletchers attitudes on this great bloke for the sikh diaspora
"Opinion is divided about Panesar. Duncan Fletcher remains remarkably curmudgeonly about him, eager, it seems, to focus on his limitations, pointing out how one-dimensional he is. Everyone else in the world loves him."
Marks goes on to describe how Fletcher is haplessly trying to stem the tide of adoration, deals with his limitations and endears his attempts at working hard on them.He further stresses that Monty seems to be a man of senses and well balance.He concludes that he is the best finger spinner that the country has right now.No more and no less.So his request is to leave him alone.
Read Marks comments on Monty
Biggest compliment from Shane the warrior Warne
Monty can prove a wizard in OzBy Shane Warne
IF I was an England supporter — which I’m not — I would be getting very excited about Monty Panesar. He has a real chance of being successful in international cricket, and by that I mean consistently over a long period, not just in the odd game here and there. To me, he is the new Monty Python: something completely different.
Three things strike me straight away. Firstly, he has that bit of spunk about him. Secondly, he loves bowling. He will need that when he has to bowl long spells on flat pitches. And thirdly, he is very astute at reading a situation. He has good control and when conditions suit, that allows him to bowl faster and still spin the ball.
As a spin bowler you beat the batsman in flight. You have to try to deceive him into getting into the wrong position so the spin can take effect. As a rule, you will not beat Test players off the pitch. They are good enough to work out where the ball is going to land and negate the turn, however many revolutions you put on it.
I always love to see a young spinner making an impression. I think of Monty as another member of our union. He bowled really well to get those eight Pakistan wickets at Old Trafford, my happiest hunting ground in four Ashes series in England. But Headingley Carnegie will be a different test for him in more ways than one.
Over the years, spinners have not done so well at the ground. Conditions tend to favour the seam bowlers. That is why you hear the description of “Headingley specialist”. Having said that, when Hampshire played there earlier in the season the pitch was drier than usual. We managed to score 404 for five to win on the last day.
Pakistan have also had a good look at him and knowing Bob Woolmer he will have hatched a plan (if not two or three). I wouldn’t be surprised if Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf try to get after him. They like to play aggressively. So far nobody has really taken on Monty and it will be a good test of his character to see how he responds.
In the longer term, the selectors have a difficult decision when Ashley Giles is fit. I know I’ve said before that Ashley is a bit negative for my liking at times. I’d love him to go more around the wicket. But he has done well in a different, more defensive role, and you have to look at the whole package he brings to the team.
Think back to the deciding Ashes Test at the Oval last year. Obviously Kevin Pietersen played well, but if Giles hadn’t stayed with him to score 59, I think we could have taken the last couple of wickets, kept down the lead to around 200 and had time to win the game. Ashley took the game from us and you cannot brush over that.
So what about the Ashes series this winter? In Adelaide and Sydney I think England will need to go with two spinners. Panesar and Giles could play together because they are not too similar, but the selectors may want somebody who spins it the other way, such as Shaun Udal or Jamie Dalrymple, who made quite a good start in the one-day games against Sri Lanka earlier this summer, or one of the young leg spinners who are starting to come through.
Australia will be an eye-opener for Monty. Our batsmen are naturally positive and they will try to take him on. As for the crowds, they could go either way. There are always one or two opposition players they take to. On the other hand they always pick out another one or two for mickey-taking, and Monty’s batting and fielding make him a candidate.
Phil Tufnell is a classic example of what can happen. He couldn’t really field and the cheers would start every time the ball went in his direction. Things got worse and worse because the pressure got to him and he kept on misfielding and dropping catches. It affected his bowling, which kept getting smashed around the park.
I can understand why people want to enjoy Monty for what he is and encourage his spin bowling. That’s fine, but in international cricket these days you have to be at least competent in all areas. Even if you can’t take blinding catches in the slips you must be able to stop the ball, hold the bread and butter chances and throw hard.
On the batting front at the very least you have to make the bowler get you out. Nobody will expect Monty to become the next Ricky Ponting, but if he gets a tight defence he can hang around while somebody plays shots at the other end. I’m sure that will come as long as he keeps working hard.
Other links on Monty:
Yorkshire upset as the Asian invasion fails to materialise
Fit or not, Monty has key role in Ashes psychological war
Panesar barges his way on to centre stage
'One of the best days of my life', says spin hero