London: England’s selectors are set to bring back Monty Panesar as the second spinner in the Ashes squad to be announced on Monday.
Panesar, 31, is considered to be a sufficiently reformed character, after he was fined by police for a nightclub incident in Brighton last month and released by Sussex, for England’s selectors to gamble on picking him for the tour of Australia.
England captain Alastair Cook said after the drink-related incident that Panesar “has that side of his life that he definitely needs to get right” and had to return to bowling his best before he could be recalled.
Since then Panesar has joined Cook’s county Essex, bowled well in five championship games to take 12 wickets, and has impressed the county coach, Paul Grayson, with what he has done on and off the field.
“He has fitted in very well,” Grayson said. “He’s back in Luton with his family and stays at a hotel in Chelmsford when he’s playing at home for us.”
Panesar has already been given an official stamp of approval. Since leaving Sussex he has worked with Peter Such, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s head spin bowling coach.
Panesar’s case was also strengthened by the awful debut of Simon Kerrigan in the Oval Test, and by the mauling given to James Tredwell’s off-spin in the one-day series against Australia.
Tim Bresnan is now the major concern for England’s selectors as the Yorkshire seamer struggles to recover from a stress fracture in his back. Bresnan is cycling as part of his rehab after his operation.
Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann meanwhile proved their fitness in the last 40-over county cup final at Lord’s on Saturday. Broad took three for 29, while Swann hit an unbeaten 29, as Nottinghamshire beat Glamorgan by 87 runs.