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How a faulty alarm clock cost Monty Panesar an England Test recall

Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner
@Ben_Wisden 3 minute read

Speaking on the Monty Panesar & The Specialist Fielders podcast, former England left-arm spinner Monty Panesar explained how, in his opinion, a missed alarm cost him a Test recall in the summer of 2014.

The last of Panesar’s 50 Test appearances, in which he claimed 167 wickets at an average of 34.71, came in the fourth Test of England’s 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Australia in the 2013/14 Ashes. With Graeme Swann having retired partway through that series, England went into the 2014 summer with a vacancy in the spin-bowling department, and Panesar, aged 32 at the time, threw his hat into the ring with some strong early-season performances in the County Championship for Essex.

In the first six games of the season, he took 19 wickets at an average of 23.6, with two five-wicket hauls, but was absent for Essex’s seventh, against Gloucestershire, the final game before England’s squad for the first Test of the summer, against Sri Lanka, was named. Leg-spinner Tom Craddock, playing what would be the last of his 18 first-class appearances, was preferred in Panesar’s place, and the left-armer was subsequently omitted from that England squad.

He explained how the time-keeping error that led to him being dropped by Essex was the lowest point in his career. “Time-keeping, when I missed a match against Essex for time-keeping issues,” he said. “I didn’t sleep very well that night, and then I went into a really deep sleep, and then the next thing [I knew] I woke up and it was half nine. I got ready, got to the ground at 10, next thing I know it was like, Monty you’re not playing this game because you’re late for the match.

“It cost me my Test place the next week against Sri Lanka. Moeen Ali played, but if I bowled really well I probably would have got the nod. I missed my alarm clock, and thanks to my alarm not working he got in the Test team.”

While the make-up of England’s team for that series, with Moeen batting at No.6 as an all-rounder, meant that, in reality, Panesar’s chances of a call-up were remote, it’s not impossible that his hopes of a call-up later that summer were affected.

His form held up for the rest of the season but he was released by Essex at the end of the 2015 summer, and though he has since signalled that he hopes to return to the county scene, his last first-class game came in 2016 for Northamptonshire.


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