England went into the first Test match against India with a bowling attack that looked perfectly suited to playing in England. It’s no surprise that 13 of the 20 English wickets to fall in that game went to spin. The pitches are not going to change and neither are the conditions so the time has come to get Monty Panesar into the team.
He has been secondary to Graeme Swann for a number of years because Swann has been extremely effective for England. However, Panesar is a much better spinner than Samit Patel who has been slotted into the middle order to try and patch things up a little bit. After all, Monty has played 42 Test matches and taken just under 150 wickets in total.
It’s a bit of a surprise that his only appearances on England’s tour of India so far have come in the warm up games. His figures of 3 for 63 in the warm up match against the Mumbai A side mean that England need to get him into the team because he’s effective in Indian conditions, he’s hungry and he’s different to fellow left arm spinner Patel.
A combination of Swann and Panesar in the second Test would mean the pair bowling the majority of overs in a day’s play. Patel will weigh in with a few overs as he’s likely to keep his place and it will keep the combination of Stuart Broad and James Anderson fresh so they can bowl with more aggression and venom. Both fast bowlers struggled to reach speeds of over 80 miles per hour in the first Test as they looked shattered due to the heat.
The main reason Panesar needs to be in the team for the second Test is because of the angles and the different speeds that he bowls. The trajectory that he bowls the ball at is different from Swann so the Indian bowlers cannot settle into a rhythm of playing Swann in a certain way. He is more aggressive than Patel and doesn’t offer as much air to the batsmen which makes him harder to attack.
He also gets more spin on the ball and the fact he is just over six feet tall means he can exploit any bounce on the pitch on the first or second day. It makes him very dangerous and England selectors and coaches need to remember that Monty made his debut in India when he took three wickets in the match including Sachin Tendulkar.
England have to show the ability to adapt because if they show stubbornness and go in with the same side, then a defeat is more than likely. If they can prime their two best spinners and the batsmen can back them up with a big total then anything is possible, England could level the series and push on for a win before going to New Zealand.