England spinner Monty Panesar expressed surprise over his selection in the national squad for the third Ashes Test against Australia at Old Trafford.
Panesar has picked up only 21 wickets in 10 County matches this season at an average of over 40.
“I kind of struggled early season. I was not getting the [bowling] action I wanted to get, so I went away and did a bit of work with [the England spin coach] Peter Such on a one-to-one basis to get my action in the right order,” Panesar was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
“If my action hadn’t been great and my bowling wasn’t great then maybe the selectors wouldn’t have taken the option [of picking me] but they’ve obviously seen improvement in the last couple of games, especially here against Australia. It was really important for me to put them under pressure and show the selectors I was in a good place,” the left-arm spinner added.
Panesar picked up three wickets for 70 runs against Australia in the ongoing tour match. He feels that he could be a threat to the Australian batsmen, who are already going through a poor patch of runs.
“The Australia team is a very competitive team, they are always going to come hard at us, but you always feel maybe against spin there is an opportunity. You can’t completely discard Australia — they are good players, they’re a competitive cricket team — but I do feel in this game I was always in with a chance,” Panesar said.
“As far as I am concerned everything is back in place now, so the timing couldn’t be better. If the opportunity does come on Thursday I’m in a great place,” he added.
Even batsman James Taylor, who has been included in the squad as a cover for the injured Kevin Pietersen feels Panesar will be useful in the Old Trafford track as it offers good assistance to the spinners.
“If the wicket’s turning in Manchester we should definitely play two spinners, and I’d love to play with ‘Swanny’ [Graeme Swann]; the spin twins coming together and getting the win,” Taylor said.