Alastair Cook vows to keep Monty Panesar on the straight and narrow on Ashes tour

Captain acknowledges need to watch troubled spinner as England leave for Australia

England's management will keep a close eye on Monty Panesar to ensure he is "looked after" throughout the two-month Ashes tour so that no further off-field issues arise. Panesar was included in the England party for the tour to Australia despite a troubled domestic season, during which he was fined by the police for being drunk and disorderly.

England arrive in Perth on Thursday, and before leaving Heathrow, Alastair Cook, the captain, admitted that he and the coach Andy Flower had to be aware of keeping Panesar "on the right path". Panesar was arrested after urinating on a nightclub bouncer in Brighton, an incident that led to him being released by Sussex, his county, in August. He spent the remainder of the season with Essex, Cook's county. He has since had counselling arranged by Neil Burns, the former Essex wicketkeeper.

"Clearly he had a tough summer, and probably a tough year or so," said Cook. "A lot of us didn't quite know what he was going through off the field if we are being totally honest. I can speak from what the guys at Essex have said about him, about how he has coped with playing for Essex and I certainly think he's on the right path.

"He will always have to work at that. He's said he is ready to go again. We are going to have to work well with him on tour, look after him on a long tour, but the bottom line is he is a fantastic bowler. If something does happen to [first-choice spinner Graeme] Swann or it is a turning wicket like they can be in Sydney we need our best spinners available.

"We have got to make sure we look after him off the field. Sometimes you play as a second spinner and you know you might not play games. It can be very hard to carry the drinks at certain times. We need to get Monty in the right frame of mind so if he's called upon he is ready to play. We have to be aware that sometimes he struggles with long tours – that is fairly common knowledge – and we look after him. That is one of the responsibilities we have as a leadership group."

Panesar played the last of his 48 Tests in India in March, a tour on which he thrived thanks to regular cricket. He benefited in part from the meltdown suffered by Simon Kerrigan in the final Ashes Test that left England's selectors with little alternative but to recall him.

Cook accepts that he himself will have to bat better in Australia than he did in this summer's Ashes, where he failed to score a century and averaged less than 30. On England's last tour Down Under, 2010/11, Cook was outstanding, scoring 766 runs at an average of 127.7. His runs were key to England posting imposing first-innings totals, and to winning three Tests by an innings.

"Top order runs out in Australia are vitally important," said Cook. "We saw last time when we went there that big runs make a massive difference. Sometimes in England 240, 250 can be a good score but the majority of the time in Australia 400 is the bare minimum in that first innings if you want to get into the game."

Australia made consistent early inroads into England's batting this summer, with Jonathan Trott also struggling for runs. "They bowled well and I didn't execute as well as I could have done," acknowledged Cook. "I could have done a lot better. As a captain you want to lead from the front, you want to set the example and you want to score big runs."

Kevin Pietersen did not fly out with the rest of the squad having been given compassionate leave following the death of a friend. He will join up with the squad in time for the opening warm-up match in Perth on 31 October. The first Test begins in Brisbane on 21 November.

Sciver secures T20 final spot

England reached the Tri-Nation Twenty20 Women's Series final after a hat-trick from Natalie Sciver and five wickets from Jenny Gunn sealed a 19-run win over New Zealand in Barbados.

Sciver became the first England player to take a T20 international hat-trick as the Kiwis were dismissed for 106 in Bridgetown. England will now contest Saturday's final against hosts the West Indies.

Meanwhile, leg spinner Imran Tahir got five wickets for South Africa in the second Test as Pakistan collapsed to 99 all out on the opening day in Dubai.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future