Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar has been released by Sussex, but he still hopes to make an international comeback soon © Getty Images

London: Aug 20, 2013

Troubled England spinner Monty Panesar apologised for letting Sussex down and said he was aiming to regain his Test place as he announced Monday he was quitting the south-coast county.

The 31-year-old left-armer was fined by police for urinating in public after he was ejected from a Brighton nightclub on August 5.

“I apologise for letting the club, my colleagues and my fans down,” said Panesar. “I am determined to do whatever it takes to gain selection for England this winter. I want to become the best I can be.”

Sussex conducted their own investigation into the incident and on Monday issued a statement confirming Panesar had played his last game for the club.

It was later announced he would be playing on loan for Essex in the Second Division of English cricket’s County Championship for the rest of the season before severing his ties with Sussex on September 27.

Panesar added: “I am grateful to Sussex for allowing me to be released from my contract for 2014 and 2015 in order to explore other opportunities to further develop my cricket. I want to give myself the best chance of playing all forms of the game at the highest level.

“I would like to thank Sussex for the opportunities, experiences and support I have enjoyed at the club since 2010, and my gratitude for the contribution Sussex have made in providing me with a platform to gain selection for England on three successive winter tours.

“I have endured a challenging time this year off the field and my frustrations have sometimes got the better of me professionally,” Panesar, whose wife is reportedly filing for divorce, added.

Panesar played the last of his 48 Tests against New Zealand in Auckland in March but was included in England’s squad for the drawn third Ashes Test against Australia at Old Trafford.

“I believe that if I maintain the bowling progress I have made in recent weeks, which enabled me to be selected for the Test squad at Old Trafford, I can fulfil my long-held ambition of becoming the best spin bowler in the world, over time,” Panesar said.

Sussex chief executive Zac Toumazi added: “Clearly this season has been a very difficult time for Monty Panesar.

“Having reviewed the whole situation, the club has agreed that Monty be released from his contract.
“This will give him every opportunity to put his personal and professional life back on track.”

Panesar, together with India’s Gautam Gambhir, could now make his Essex debut in their County Championship match against Northamptonshire — the club where the spinner made his name — as soon as   Tuesday when a four-day Championship match starts at Colchester.

“We are delighted to welcome Monty to the club for the remainder of the season,” said Essex coach Paul Grayson.

“He is a world-class spinner and we are confident that he will have a positive impact on the team. He will join us from today [Monday] and will hopefully be playing tomorrow [Tuesday] at 11am against  Northants.”

Panesar, who has taken 164 Test wickets at 33.78, was left out of England’s squad for the Ashes finale at The  Oval starting Wednesday, with Lancashire’s uncapped left-armer Simon Kerrigan included as a second spinner behind off-break bowler Graeme Swann.

England, who’ve retained the Ashes, have an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.