Panesar is shaking but not stirred before Test

Monty Panesar was shaking yesterday when he spoke about England's defence of the Ashes. Fortunately for Andrew Flintoff's side, his actions were not in fear of the prospect of taking on Australia, or in rage at comments made by Glenn McGrath who suggested that the left-arm spinner was soft for needing to see a sports psychologist before his visit Down Under.

Panesar was shaking because he was cold, sat in nothing more than a T-shirt on a bandstand in Ruskin Park, Brixton, where the England and Wales Cricket Board announced that npower, at a cost of £10m, would continue to sponsor Test cricket in England until the end of 2009.

Brixton and Brisbane have little in common, but it will be in hot, humid Queensland in just over three weeks where Panesar's reputation as one of the best finger spinners in the world will be put to its severest test yet.

The return of Ashley Giles, who was declared fit to tour on Sunday, will ensure that competition for the solitary spinning spot in Brisbane is keen, but it is to be hoped that England opt for Panesar who offers far more with the ball than his team-mate. Panesar was tactful when asked whether he thought Giles' presence placed him under increased pressure.

"This will be the first time that Ashley has been in the same squad as myself and I am keen to learn from him," he said. "He has vast experience and I will watch the way he prepares and goes about his business.

"There is a chance that we will play two spinners in Sydney and Adelaide, and possibly even in Perth. A lot will depend on our team tactics and our seam attack, which is probably our strength out there. I know that I am not guaranteed a spot in the first Test and I will be doing my best to adapt to the conditions, along with the different ball we use, in the warm-up games. It is then up to the coach and the captain to decide."

Panesar has experience of playing in Australia, he was at the National Academy in Adelaide in 2002-03 and that ought to help him to acclimatise quickly, giving him an advantage over Giles who has not bowled competitively for almost a year. Getting sledged by McGrath indicates that Panesar's bowling last summer has made an impact within the Australia ranks.

"It is quite flattering," Panesar said. "Eighteen months ago people in Australia had probably never heard of me, but now they seem to know who I am and what I do. It's just typical pre-Ashes stuff. It is something we have to accept."

* The Pakistan Cricket Board has demanded that the International Cricket Council investigates the actions of the umpire Darrell Hair during and after the fourth Test against England. Hair accused the Pakistan team of ball tampering which led to them refusing to take the field and the Test being abandoned. The PCB believes an inquiry will have a bearing on the £800,000 compensation claim the England and Wales Cricket Board is making against it. Hair's actions will be discussed at the ICC executives' meeting which begins in Dubai on Friday.

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

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks