Monty: England hero

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England version of turbanator is bound to makes its presence felt in the cricketing map in coming years.

By Vipin Agnihotri

Left arm orthodox spin bowling is a rarity these days. Leave alone, Daniel Vettori of New Zealand and to some extent Murali Kartik of India and Ashley Giles of England, there is nothing to write about. But all these things are set to change with the advent of man called Mudhsuden Singh Panesar or ‘Monty’.

After kicking off his career in Nagpur and picking great ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ as his first victim, this man from Bedfordshire has never looked back. His recent match winning performances against Pakistan has clearly demonstrated his skills and temperament against the top quality batsman.

Pakistan is generally considered as the team that plays spin bowling really well. And there shouldn’t be any doubt about it because of the quality of batsman they possesses. Inzamam ul haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan are no slouch against spin bowling. But against Monty, they doesn’t look comfortable. As a matter of fact Mohammad Yousuf despite making plenty of runs against England, sought out advice from former Pakistani great Zaheer Abbas to tackle Monty.

Inzamam ul Haq, one of the best player of spin bowling in the world has also been dismissed three times so far in the series by Monty. All this clearly stamps his authority on the cricketing map as a world-class spinner. According to Monty, the ball with which he castled the stumps of Younis Khan at the Headingley test was the best ball of his short career.

The ball that get rid off Younis Khan at Leeds was an absolute peach. It turned out of the rough, pitching on middle and leg. Younis came forward for a defence but missed it altogether as the ball turned to hit the top of off stump, just nicking the bail.

The million- dollar question now arises: What is so special about Monty as a bowler? In cricketing terms, he do all the basics right both in terms of line and length, has a wonderful action for a spin bowler but the best part about Monty is its heart and willingness to learn.

To be a great spinner, it is of utmost significance that you have heart and Monty has in him in abundance. He does not believe in so-called magic bowls. He believes in sheer hard work. “You\’ve got to bowl tight and apply pressure. It\’s not as simple as bowling every ball outside leg and hitting off stump,” pointed out Monty when asked about his mantra of success.

Ashley Giles who is struggling because of injury is already scared that his place is in jeopardy especially after the heroic performance of Monty against Pakistan. And there is no doubt that Giles may have played his last international game but Monty, as a complete package needs improvement. Duncan Fletcher has always said that he wants complete package in his player. By complete package, he means that player should be good in two areas, either in bowling, batting or fielding.

There is no denying that Monty is exceptional as a bowler but on fielding and bowling front he needs lots of improvement. His fielding is same in the bracket of former left arm England spinner Phil Tufnell. Batting too needs improvement but at first glance, there is some talent in batting front and with passage of time one can expect some improvement in this regard.

Though, Duncan Fletcher has praised him after his performances by saying that he is the best finger spinner in world cricket at the moment but has given some warning signs too. “Giles can come straight back into the side on account of his batting and fielding,” pointed out Fletcher.

This can turn out to be suicidal for England ashes winning bid against Australia. With so many injuries in the English camp, especially in bowling front they will certainly need bowlers that can take 20 wickets. By all account, Ashley Giles is a containment bowler not a wicket taking one. On the other hand, Monty with its line and control can not only contains the like of Hayden, Langer and Ponting but can also get them out as well. Statistically speaking, he yields an average of 2.5 runs an over, which is not only actually better than Shane Warne (2.64) nor vastly inferior to Muttiah Muralitharan (2.39), but is also a feat in itself amidst the helter skelter of Test match run rates.

All in all, England version of turbanator is bound to makes its presence felt in the cricketing map in coming years.