|(Top) The nightclub in Brighton where the incident occurred; (Above) Monty Panesar
London, Aug. 7: Monty Panesar, the England spinner, relieved himself on the bouncers of a nightclub who had thrown him out for harassing women in the early hours of Monday.
The 31-year-old cricketer of Indian origin was partying at the beachfront club at Brighton, appropriately named Shooshh, when a group of women complained that he was “hassling” them.
Panesar was asked to leave, which he did, only to climb onto the promenade above the club from where he proceeded to test his line and length that had earlier come in for much praise from former captain Michael Vaughan. “He is very controlled with his line and length,” Vaughan had said after the left-arm spinner’s performance on the India tour last winter.
Although Panesar has played little Test cricket of late, his line and length proved immaculate even at that early hour and even in the state he was in. The two bouncers who had ejected him from the club and were the victims of his accuracy would testify to that.
Something in him might have set off the alarm, “Bhaag, Monty bhaag”, as the cricketer ran as fast as he could. Now, even Monty’s most ardent fans will acknowledge that running, fielding and chasing are not his strengths. The bouncers caught him in a nearby pizza parlour, disregarded his pathetic screams of “Help! Help!”, put him in an arm-lock and dragged him back ignominiously to the club where the police were summoned.
The devout Monty, who has given interviews in the past about how he avoids alcohol and other such temptations, was handed a fixed penalty of £90.
A Sussex Police spokesman said: “A 31-year-old man received a fixed penalty notice for being drunk and disorderly after being seen urinating in public near the Shooshh Club in King’s Road Arches, Brighton, around 4.13am on Monday (August 5).”
The story was in all the papers, with The Sun delighting in Monty’s conversion to a full-fledged Englishman.
Sussex County Cricket Club, for whom Monty now plays and which has had many Indian and Pakistani star players over the decades — Prince Ranji, Imran Khan and Mushtaq Ahmed, among them, — are less than amused, though.
“Sussex County Cricket Club can confirm that an incident took place involving Monty Panesar in the early hours of Monday August 5,” said a stern statement. “The matter is under full investigation and the club will make no further comment at this stage.”
Monty can’t even claim he was doing the dance that was executed by gloating England cricketers during their victorious Ashes series in Australia in 2010-11 called “the Sprinkler”. The dance move involves a person placing one hand on the back of the neck, and waving the other arm back and forth while spinning in a circle. This simulates the motion of a garden irrigation sprinkler — or something similar.
The cricketer’s spokesman has since apologised on his behalf: “Monty would like to apologise unreservedly for any offence caused.”
But the future does not look too bright for Monty. Born Mudhsuden Singh Panesar in Luton, Bedfordshire, of parents who came from India, he is held in much affection by English crowds. Although to be fair his fielding has improved over the years, the sight of the hapless Monty attempting to cope with a slash through the covers has provided much cruel pleasure to spectators.
Had he been a star footballer, his misdemeanour could have been overlooked with a token fine and recognition that “boys will be boys”. But as an England Test player, Monty’s days are probably over — at least, for the foreseeable future.